More plastics could be recycled at home

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Brittle plastics like margarine tubs and yoghurt pots that usually ends up in the bin could soon be added to the list of household materials recycled by local authorities. And about time, one can but say

Plastic milk and drinks bottles tend to be the only plastics that the majority of kerbside collection schemes will currently accept as there have previously been technical and commercial barriers to recycling other plastics.

The only plastics that can, in fact, be properly commercially recycled, so far, in Britain ate #1 and #2. Anything else goes into landfill, period. It does not matter what some people may wish to tell the world.

However, trials run by the Government-funded Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) suggest that this could soon change. Not before time, methinks.

WRAP claims that the trials have proven the business case for recycling a wider variety of plastics and has also announced new funding to help put the infrastructure in place to enable this to happen.

The funding will come in the form of a £2 million capital grant competition administered by WRAP to help the recycling supply chain build the capacity for recycling more plastics packaging.

On the other hand, if we but would go back to other materials than plastics, such as glass containers and even cardboard with wax (at least they can be harmlessly – more or less – burned) we would be better off still in this department. We also would be using less oil.

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."

"In support of the grant scheme, WRAP has also published further research designed to inform the choices and decisions made by local authorities and businesses at every stage of the plastics recycling process.

"The suite of research available looks at the opportunities and financial implications of recycling more non-bottle household plastics packaging and examines the practical and commercial viability of developing the next stage in the recycling chain."

He added that the demand for more recycling options for non-bottle plastics packaging in the UK was being driven by consumers and that end markets for the recyclate would continue to grow both domestically and overseas.

It is such a shame that we waste so much on resources to look at how we can recycle plastic packing of the various kinds rather than having a look as to how we can replace some of them with better alternatives and they do, in fact, exist.

Yes, I do know that glass is (1) heavier than plastic and (2) will break if dropped it still is, in my view, and I know I am not alone in this, the much better option and especially thus if we would be reuse and refill the containers rather than send them to be melted down, often into the same container that they were in the first place.

Now, let's hear it for a glass container refund scheme...

© 2009