UK-based plastic recycler Viridor, owned by U.S. investment company KKR, has shut down its polymer recycling facility in Skelmersdale, a town in the north of England. The centre ceased operations in January 2023, but the move has only now been disclosed with the publishing of the company’s financial report for 2022/2023.
The report states that ‘following an extensive business review and increasing performance at the Avonmouth polymers facility, we ceased operation at our Skelmersdale polymers facility during the year’. Viridor opened the Avonmouth resource recovery centre in March 2022, a facility co-locating plastic reprocessing and energy recovering through waste incineration. The recycling facility has a capacity of over 80,000 tones a year and it uses 70 GWh to 105 GWh a year of the energy recovered.
In a statement to Sustainable Plastics, a Viridor spokesperson said that the 'Skelmersdale facility ceased operation in Q1 2023 and was a planned, strategic decision to reflect bringing our Avonmouth Polymers Reprocessing plant online and completing commissioning'.
"This decision is aligned to our drive to increase domestic plastic reprocessing to achieve a route to circularity in the four major plastics by 2025," the spokesperson continued. "Our recent acquisition of Quantafuel is a critical step on this journey as their plastics to liquids (P2L) pyrolysis technology enables us to transform hard-to-recycle polymer back to its base molecules for new plastics production. Viridor remains eager to invest in new plastic reprocessing, and recycling policy reforms will be critical in determining the scale and pace of future recycling investments in the UK."
Viridor further stated in its financial report for 2022/2023 that the discontinued operations had no impact on the total loss for the year, the consolidated statement of comprehensive income, the consolidated statement of financial position, or the consolidated statement of changes in equity. “This is a presentational change only with the impact being reclassifications of line items in the consolidated income statement and cash generated from operations in the consolidated statement of cash flows,” the company noted.
The move comes after Viridor posted a GBP 13 million loss for its plastic recycling subsidiary, Viridor Polymers, in its 2021/2022 financial statement. However, the company had an overall profit of GBP 167.2 million in the financial year 2022/2023, having recycled over 86,000 tonnes of plastic in 2023, and over 85,000 tonnes in 2022.
*This article was updated on 08/31/2023 to add a statement from a Viridor spokesperson.