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    Indigo Environmental Ltd

Indigo chats to… Comply Direct

Here at Indigo Environmental, we’re passionate about sustainable and localised plastic recycling. That’s why we work closely with our clients and partners to understand their individual requirements.

But don’t just take our word for it, here Ash Clay, procurement leader at Comply Direct, explains more about their company and what it’s really like working with us…

1. Tell us a bit about your company

I’m Ash and I’m the procurement leader at Comply Direct Ltd – a government-approved environmental compliance scheme, based in the beautiful market town of Skipton, North Yorkshire.

We’re responsible for fulfilling the legal obligations of our members, under the WEEE, packaging and, batteries waste regulations – ensuring their compliance and protecting them from legal prosecution.

We operate the second largest packaging and WEEE compliance scheme, alongside a batteries compliance solution, international compliance, waste management services, and a host of sustainability consultancy services. These include ESOS and Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) compliance, sustainable packaging consultancy, and carbon services – carbon footprint measurement, Net Zero, Carbon Offsetting, and ISO 14001.

2. Describe what your company does in one sentence:

We provide first-class environmental solutions, delivering commercial and environmental benefits inspired by always finding a better way.

3. When did you first start working with Indigo? I started working with Indigo in 2019. We kindly had a tour of the Widnes site – led by the firm’s director of recycling, Paul. After our initial meeting, it became clear that both our companies were passionate about the same things – recycling, sustainability, and the circular economy – and that’s how the partnership started.

4. And in what capacity? We started buying Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) evidence as and when we required them, and now we have a secure PRN contract in place. Both parties agree a tonnage and price before transfer – despite a fluctuating price on an open market – showing our commitment to each other. In addition, where appropriate, we recommend Indigo to our members for getting in touch with regarding their own waste management requirements.

5. Why did you decide to partner with Indigo? The main driver for us was the fact that Indigo was producing PRNs from recycling here within the UK. You can also obtain Packaging Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) – which are produced after export of waste material – and in line with the government’s environmental aims, we’re keen to support the country in increasing the amount of plastic recycling taking place on our home soil. Working with Indigo allows us to do just this. We love working with the Indigo team. Not only is Paul a really great guy, but they are local and supporting the UK recycling sector – for us, every box is ticked in terms of a supplier we’d like to work with.

6. Explain in three words what it’s like working with the team: Hassle free, efficient, and fun!

7. What positive impacts have been achieved to date from working with Indigo, for both your business and the wider UK recycling sector? Working with Indigo has meant that we can tangibly see where UK packaging producers’ money is being wisely spent and re-invested into the recycling sector. Indigo has continued to grow – added more lines and expanded its sites – and some of this will have been funded by the PRNs bought by Comply Direct. It’s really great to be investing in UK recycling, and a local company full of great people.

8. What is one of the biggest waste management challenges facing UK businesses?

The implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging waste. The UK is looking to introduce a reformed system for Producer Responsibility of packaging waste where full net cost recovery applies. This would mean that the full cost of collection, sorting, recycling, and end disposal of packaging waste is met by the businesses first placing packaging on the UK market. The reformed regulatory framework will also need to include a fee-modulation system, where the costs of compliance are relative to the environmental / recycling performance of the materials. Ensuring that the measure is aligned with other policy changes such as a consistent collection framework for local authorities, Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers, and a Plastic Packaging Tax, will also be a challenge.

9. In your opinion, what role does (or should) plastic recycling play in a circular economy? Plastic recycling plays an important role in the transition towards a more circular economy. Whilst reduction and reuse are traditionally the aim of a circular system, recycling processes help significantly in closing the loop. By taking waste plastics and pushing them back up the supply chain to continue as valuable resources, the recycling industry provides a strong foundation for the building blocks of sustainable material use.

10. And what are your hopes for the future of the plastic recycling industry? The government has made it clear that divestment from waste exports is an area of interest. As the UK transitions towards a more circular economy, seeing consistent growth in investment in the recycling industry would be great benefit. Increased capacity and reliance on the UK re-processing industry will likely make the cost of recycling – and potentially the costs of compliance – become less volatile.

11. What advice would you give to businesses looking for a sustainable plastic recycler? Firstly, help them out by looking after your waste. If you sort and store it correctly, the easier and more profitable your recycling can be – whilst also boosting the chances of a circular solution. Secondly, look for recyclers who are committed to sustainability, in terms of their own operations and the services they offer. A key offering is closed-loop recycling solutions to help bring your business in line with the UK’s circular economy commitments. Last but not least, use Indigo, too!

If you’d like to take part in our client Q&A series, please contact our PR representative, Amy Lloyd via amy@scribapr.com.