Three-way partnership underpins plastics recycling scheme

A strong working partnership between Lancashire County Council, waste management company SITA UK Ltd and Plastics Recovery Ltd has proved the key to success for plastics recycling in the county. Since the initial trial to the expansion across the county the scheme has exceeded expectations and is a valuable indicator of best practice in household waste recycling centre, plastic recovery and recycling as this case study shows

The scheme encompasses 23 “bring in” Household Waste Recycling Centres managed by SITA UK Ltd, which operate throughout the county from 8am until 7pm every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Years Day, and covers mixed plastic waste in the form of PET, PVC and HDPE bottles and containers. Approximately 36 tonnes of mixed plastic waste is collected each month for recycling in this county scheme alongside a similar scheme for cans which produces 16 tonnes.

Manpower from SITA is available at each civic amenity site to assist the public in their waste disposal, helping people to place their “washed and squashed” plastic bottles into the specially designed collection skips. The special, liveried, mesh sided skips designed by Plastics Recovery enable people to easily identify the right receptacle for their plastic waste and also give a clear visual understanding of the amount of waste accumulated which would, once upon a time, have been sent to landfill. This in turn has a positive effect on the amount of plastic waste brought to the sites by the public.

In order to meet the stringent demands of Lancashire County Council and SITA in terms of the rate of skip exchange, the 11/7 nature of the household waste sites and the demand for reliability and continuity of operation, Plastics Recovery has invested in a dedicated team of drivers and vehicles to service the four- year contract.

“It was imperative that in waste recovery sites with multiple waste streams from wood and paper to oil and hardcore that SITA UK Ltd work closely with professional waste handling companies. Plastics Recovery Ltd specialise in the collection and recycling of plastic and as a local firm with an excellent reputation we were keen to work with them on this scheme,” explained Harold Council, SITA UK Ltd’s Contracts Manager for Household Waste Recycling Centres in Lancashire. “Their knowledge and experience in handling and recycling of other waste types such as cardboard and cans has also been extremely useful for us in ensuring the continued high levels of service offered to LCC and the people of Lancashire who use these civic sites.”

Phil Strutt, Managing Director, Plastics Recovery Ltd, said: ” The utilisation of our removal and recycling service eliminates costly investment in balers and secondary transportation of plastic waste, by the local authority or waste management company, enables maximum use of civic amenity space and ensures that obligations for reduction in volumes sent to landfill and recycling of plastic waste are met fully and efficiently.”

As Plastics Recovery Ltd prepares to move into new and larger, local premises designed to cope not only with increased volumes of waste but also more efficiently with mixed plastic waste, he explained “Our new 50,000ft2 automated plastic sorting facility incorporating the very latest ‘magic eye’ plastic sortation system will enable us to accept high volumes of mixed bottle types from LCC and other sources. They will be automatically loaded, scanned, segregated, shredded and baled in a matter of minutes, giving us the capacity to handle in excess of 4,000 tonnes of plastic bottles per month.”

Commenting on the scheme, Harold Council said: “Phil Strutt of Plastics Recovery Ltd has given us every assistance to make this scheme a success, working closely with us and suggesting ways to improve the service to the council and the general public.” Steve Scott, Operations Team Manager, Lancashire County Council, stated, “The service we have received from SITA UK Ltd and Plastics Recovery Ltd has proved to be excellent: from initial trial to full roll out of the scheme we have had no problems”.

Future plans for LCC and SITA include the development of facilities for the recovery and recycling of plastics bags and sacks, with trials already under way on a small number of sites. The county is already producing 0.25 tonnes of waste bags.

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