It will provide the plastics from its £65 million Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre near Bristol, which is powered by non-recyclable waste through its new £252 million Energy Recovery Facility.
The two companies, both founding members of the UK Plastics Pact, have previously worked together with Nextek on detectable black plastic packaging for Unilever’s TRESemmé and Lynx personal care brands with trials carried out at Viridor’s Rochester Polymers Recycling Facility in Kent.
The project will put 60,000 tonnes of recycled plastic from bottles, pots, tubs and trays back in the economy as a viable and sustainable solution to virgin plastic.
It will be powered by diverting 320,000 tonnes of waste from landfill and generating 282GWh of electricity – equivalent to powering around 77,000 homes.
The agreement is part of Unilever’s commitment to increase its use of recycled plastic as well as make all its plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
Sebastian Munden, Unilever UK & Ireland General Manager, said: “Unilever has committed to increase its use of recycled plastic and close the loop on plastic packaging.
“Limited availability of high-quality recycled content has, though, remained a challenge and that’s why we’re so pleased that our collaboration with Viridor will bring extra capacity on-line in the UK. This will be essential towards creating a more circular market, as well as contributing to the UK Plastic Pact targets.
“We think that UK citizens will also be encouraged to recycle more if they can see their efforts being rewarded with more plastic going back into new bottles and not ending up in the environment.”