Getting the plastics message right
Plastics have been all the talk this week, what with WRAP's new guidance for local authorities on household rigid plastic packaging collections dropping into officers' email inboxes.
According to WRAP, an increasing number of councils are adding non-bottle rigid plastic packaging, comprising pots, tubs and trays, to existing kerbside recycling schemes in response to demand from residents.
The problem is that unless local authorities have access to the facilities to sort and reprocess these types of plastics, they will simply become a contaminant and most likely end up in landfill. Clearly the UK needs to invest more in the infrastructure that can take in rigid plastics, which is where WRAP's Mixed Plastics Loan Fund comes in.
The fund provides financial support for reprocessors in England to stimulate the growth of this market, which is so obviously there. At present about 90% of rigid plastic packaging is not recycled; a huge waste of a valuable resource.
This week the first loan recipient of this fund, ECO Plastics, opened a new facility, which will be able to recycle an additional 15,000 tonnes of rigid plastic packaging.
But until more of these types of facilities are up and running, local authorities need to make sure that they get the right messages across to householders about what materials can and can't be collected.
This is where WRAP's new guidance comes in, offering practical advice on how best to collect non-bottle rigid plastics.
Everyone wants to drive up recycling for these types of plastic but we need to do it in such a way that we don't reduce the quality and value of the plastic bottle stream.Nick Warburton