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RECYCLING 3...WITH YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
Harnessing the power of plastics
Plastic waste has been one of the hottest topics of 2018 and many of us will have been moved by the dreadful scenes of beaches clogged by plastic pollution, bottles floating in our oceans and marine wildlife snared and killed by plastic debris.
This year’s Recycle Week highlighted efforts to improve plastic recycling and cut down the amount of plastic waste we produce. But knowing what plastic materials can and cannot be recycled, or even what can be recycled in your local area, can prove difficult for households.
As a result of this confusion, it’s not surprising that thousands of tonnes of plastic end up in landfill or find their way into oceans and onto our beaches. We live in a society where ‘throwaway’ culture is deemed as acceptable. But the abuse of plastic cannot continue, and it’s costing our environment immeasurably. Whilst plastic can pollute, we cannot ignore that if recycled properly it can help to decrease pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – both of which have a positive impact on the environment.
While most of us have the best of intentions, for many recycling is just one more chore on a very long list and the temptation to rush the job so we can collapse onto the sofa and binge on our latest box set is entirely understandable.
Here at Casepak we take the issue of plastic waste very seriously. Our Materials Recycling Facility is one of the UK’s most technologically advanced, helping to maximise the recovery and purity of recyclables that pass through it.
To help households manage their recycling as efficiently and effectively as possible, we’ve produced a few helpful tips:
- Check the label: most products will say whether the packaging in which they are supplied can be recycled. If you’re in doubt check the label, if it says ‘Widely recycled’ then the chances are you can recycle it somewhere.
- Look at the recycling guidelines for your area. Your Council should publish a list of recyclable materials on its website. Alternatively, you can contact the council or its contracted waste management company to find out what plastic they will accept.
- Empty and wash out your plastics, such as milk cartons, yoghurt pots and juice bottles. Dirty recycling can contaminate all the materials in your bin, or even an entire waste stream, so it’s important we all do our part to keep recycling clean. Use your leftover washing up water after doing the dishes so you don’t waste water!
- Leave on plastic lids, tops and labels on containers, as these will be removed and recycled in the process. Any cardboard or paper sleeves should be recycled separately.
- However, please remove any plastic film from the tops of trays as this can’t currently be recycled and should be placed in your general rubbish bin
- Don’t bag up different recyclables in carrier bags, as these won’t get recycled. Please always use the appropriate containers provided by your local authority. Depending on the recycling regime in your authority, you may need to separate plastic from other waste materials (‘source segregated’) or you might be able to put everything together (‘co-mingled’)
- Remove pumps from liquid soap and cleaning product bottles as these are not currently recyclable.
- Carrier bags: although our MRF can process these, most local authorities don’t collect plastic carrier bags with household recycling. However, you can normally take carrier bags to a carrier bag collection at your local supermarket. These generally accept carrier bags, breakfast cereal liners, bread bags, clean freezer bags, magazine and newspaper wrappers, fruit and vegetable bags.
Our MRF has the ability to process the following plastics:
- PET – usually clear drinks bottles, but can also come with a blue tint
- HDPE – cloudy looking plastic; think plastic milk bottles or detergent bottles
- Mixed plastics – butter and spread tubs, coloured bleach bottles
- LDPE – clean and dry carrier bags
The MRF can also recover PVC, PP, PS and Miscellaneous plastics.
Lastly, get into the recycling routine! When you start trying to recycle more it can seem like a bit of a chore, but the more you do it the more familiar you will get with what can and can’t be recycled. If we all do our very best to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible then we can all contribute to making a difference and protecting our environment for future generations.
Everyone should take responsibility for plastics recycling. Let’s all play our part to reduce plastic pollution and boost recycling.