West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper visited recycling firm Viridor’s facility in Skelmersdale, which is one of the UK’s leading plastic reprocessing plants.   

The Skelmersdale facility reprocesses around 600 million plastic bottles and other consumer packaging each year, turning it into a raw material to be re-used in new plastic products. The facility is using the latest technology to ensure materials that have previously been hard to recycle, such as black plastics, are not sent to landfill. This includes Artificial Intelligence (AI) robotics to sort material coming into the facility into different plastic types.   

Viridor’s plant currently focus on two main types of plastic, PET (such as coke bottles) and HPDE (including milk bottles), but are looking to expand their operations and accept a wider range of plastics.     

MP Rosie met with Site Manager Gary Welsh and Public Affairs Manager James Cox to hear about the industry’s views on how Government can improve legislation to further encourage home recycling and ensure producers use more sustainable forms of packaging, including plastic, that can be recycled.     

Mr Welsh also gave Rosie a tour of the factory explaining the processes they use for their recycling.     

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said: 
“It was interesting to see first-hand the work that goes on in such a recycling plant and to learn the finer detail of the work undertaken by this industry.     

“Hearing about little changes producers can make from the colour of plastics to the moulds used to not using mixed types of plastic in one package which can all go a long way to increasing the UK’s plastic recycling rates.     

“UK recycling rates have ultimately plateaued since 2010 sitting at about 40-45% but these small changes can help get us up and over that 50% mark.     

“I will be writing to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to raise these issues and push for change to be implemented.”     

Site Manager Gary Welsh added: 
“We were delighted to welcome local MP Rosie Cooper to see first-hand how Viridor is turning plastic waste into material for new products. We look forward to working with her to boost plastic recycling rates.” 

Rosie Cooper MP with Viridor
Rosie Cooper MP with Viridor's Gary Welsh
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