WRAP guide targets household rigid plastics

New guidance launched by WRAP yesterday (10 May) provides local authorities with practical advice on how best to collect non-bottle rigid plastics in a drive to push up recycling and reduce contamination at reprocessing plants.

Currently, only around 10% of rigid plastic packaging is recycled from household collections. This is despite studies, which show that householders are keen to recycle this material and where collections are provided, yields of all recyclables increase.

According to WRAP, the challenge for local authorities is how to best collect these materials and communicate with residents about what can and cannot be collected.

“We know householders want to recycle more of their plastic packaging and that increasing numbers of local authorities want to collect it, the challenge is to collect and recycle it effectively without reducing the quality and value of the plastic bottle stream, WRAP’s head of collections and quality Linda Crichton said.

Besides the guidance, WRAP has also set up a Mixed Plastics Loan Fund to provide financial support for reprocessors in England. The purpose of the loan is to build up infrastructure to retain the value of the material in the UK.

“It is important that local authorities only collect non-bottle rigid plastics if they have access to the facilities to sort and reprocess them,” stressed Crichton. “If non-bottle plastics are simply added to the plastic bottle recycling stream without the sorting infrastructure in place, they will become a contaminant and probably end up in landfill. WRAP’s guide aims to help local authorities to maximise the value of the plastic packaging streams they collect for recycling.”

WRAP’s new guidance can be downloaded here

Nick Warburton

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