Recycling of plastics boomed in 2009, and it wasn’t only the good old plastic bottles that councils were collecting – yoghurt pots and margarine tubs also made the cut. But does your council take them?
In a perfect world, recycling your waste would mean throwing anything that’s not food waste into one bin without any hassle. Yet, in reality we have to be careful, picking and choosing what to place in our bins based on our individual council’s capabilities.
Paper, cans, glass, and even aerosol cans have been happily accepted by local authorities. But when it comes to plastic, it’s often been a little limited.
Plastic bottles have been the sole polymer taken by many recycling schemes, with others, like bags, ready-meal food trays, margarine tubs and yoghurt pots not getting any love. This is mainly due to the difficulty of sorting and separating them from each other.
The plastic recycling revolution
However, last year saw what some campaigners have called a ‘recycling revolution’ as 40,000 tonnes of mixed plastics were collected. This is up by almost 50% over 2008, according to figures released by recycling charity Recoup. And it’s not just down to more of us getting involved, it’s due to local councils increasing facilities to recycle plastic items that weren’t previously accepted.
There was apparently a 78% growth in the number of councils collecting mixed plastics, meaning over 6.5m household can now do so. But that’s still a long way off the 23m households that currently put out bottles. So the question is – does your council recycle all plastics?
Now, I was absolutely convinced that my council did – the little pictures on their pink recycling bags certainly seemed to give that impression. However, as I prepared to write this Conversation I popped onto my council’s website and found that their handy chart only featured plastic bottles. D’oh. Have I been clogging up their machines, or forfeiting my household’s many bags of recycling over these past years? I sure hope not.
Does your council only recycle bottles?
So you may also think that your council only accepts bottles – but are you sure? When we last asked you whether you knew what went into your recycling, 76% of you said not only did you know, but that you knew due to your council being good at informing you.
In the comments, both Richard and Dave W told us that the only plastics their councils recycled were bottles without caps. But even though I’ve been unlucky to discover the same, I wouldn’t be so sure, especially since councils are making such a big move towards recycling mixed plastics. So, does your council recycle plastic tubs, pots and trays, or are you restricted to only throwing out bottles?