Plastics including yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and other plastic food containers may soon be collected and recycled alongside plastic bottles, after research found recycling different plastics was now technically and commercially possible.
Trials run by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) show that non-bottle household plastic packaging – a ‘recycling bugbear’ for many consumers – can now be recycled and investment in this area would reduce the overall amount of plastic going to landfill each year.
The not-for-profit organisation is offering a grant of £2m to the council or company who can come up with the most viable way of expanding the capacity for recycling plastics in the UK.
Find out exactly what happens to your rubbish when you throw it away as well as what happens to your recycling.
There are currently very limited facilities to recycle plastic materials other than plastic bottles and, while many councils will collect and recycle bottles, very few are able to extend that to other types of plastic waste. Estimates suggest that more than a million tonnes of non-bottle plastic recycling ends up in landfill each year.
Read our comprehensive recycling guide to find out what you can and can’t recycle, how you can improve your recycling habits and watch a handy recycling video guide with advice from RecycleNow’s Philip Ward.
Boost recycling capacity
Marcus Gover, director of market development at WRAP said: ‘The grant is designed to help stimulate the development of waste management infrastructure and boost recycling capacity by at least 40,000 tonnes per year by 2011.
‘The funding and research being announced by WRAP will help to drive the creation of a world class recycling industry in the UK, diverting more waste mixed plastics packaging away from landfill and into production processes.’
Households recycling more
According to WRAP, consumers are driving the demand for more plastic recycling options. Marcus Gover said: ‘Householders increasingly want it to be recycled in the same way as other packaging materials such as glass, plastic bottles and cans.’
A recent Which? poll found that recycling was the most popular green activity with Which? members, with 88% of those surveyed saying that they recycled household rubbish.
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