Biffa creates 50 North East jobs with £13m investment

Waste management firm Biffa has announced it is creating new jobs in the North East as it doubles recycling at a plant in the region with a £13m investment.

The plastics recycling company is increasing capacity to recycle high-density polyethene (HDPE) plastic at It Washington plant, allowing it process a further 14,000 tonnes of the material, commonly used for milk bottles.

The significant investment will grow its total annual capacity to 39,000 tonnes – or 1.6bn bottles a year.

The investment will create 50 new jobs, building on Biffa’s North East workforce, which currently includes 115 people across Washington and its £27.5m plastics recycling facility at Seaham, County Durham, which opened last year.

It also currently operates a HDPE facility at Redcar which employs a further 140 people.

The expansion is the latest in a series of significant strategic investments which the group says is part of its commitment to building a circular economy.

In the last five years Biffa has invested more than £54.5m in plastics recycling infrastructure with plans to quadruple its plastic recycling capacity by 2030.

The Biffa recycling plant in Seaham

The new investment will take Biffa’s overall plastic recycling capacity to 155,000 tonnes each year.

Packaging producers will also benefit from the extended capacity of the high density plastic recycling. From next year, packers will be required to use at least 30% recycled plastic in their products to avoid the new plastic packaging tax – and it is estimated an extra 36,000 tonnes of recycled HDPE will be needed to meet demand.

Mick Davis, chief operating officer for Biffa’s resources and energy division, said: “This investment in Washington is another example of Biffa on-shoring recycling capacity in our strategic journey to creating closed loop recycling in the UK.

“We look forward to being able to offer UK manufacturers more high-quality recycled plastics and help prevent the export of plastics for reprocessing.

“We have a strong and growing presence in the North East of England, a region which is playing a leading role in the UK’s green industrial revolution and we are delighted to be creating a further 50 new jobs as part of these plans.”

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