London council sees surge in mixed plastics recycling at kerbside

The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames has seen a 43% increase in the amount of plastic recycled after the council widened the range of materials that could be collected at the kerbside last October.

The new service now includes all plastic bottles, including drink, shampoo and detergent bottles as well as meat trays and ready meal food trays, margarine tubs, yoghurt pots and ice cream containers and fruit and vegetable punnets.

The plastic waste collected has risen from 70 tonnes a month on average to 100 tonnes, which is the equivalent of eight more lorry loads taken to be recycled instead of being sent to landfill.

Councillor Sharon Hartley, lead member for sustainability at the southwest London council, said: “It’s not just plastic food packaging that can be recycled in the green boxes. All kinds of plastic products, including shampoo, cosmetic and detergent containers can be recycled.”

But the local authority is still unable to recycle more complicated plastic materials such as plastic bags and cling film.

Over a year, it estimates that nearly £50,000 is spent on sending residual waste to landfill and the wider range of plastics collection will help save on overall costs.

Nick Warburton

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