Facts about plastic

Think Green ANL-141208-115547001
Think Green ANL-141208-115547001
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Think Green: By South Holland District Council’s waste and recycling officer Laura Simpkins

It is easy to get confused about what plastics are recyclable with so many different types out there.

The waste and recycling team want to make it easier for our residents to recycle and to make sure everyone is confident that they are recycling the right things.

What is often confusing is the variety of symbols that you find on plastic packaging. Something that might look like it is saying it can be recycled might just mean that it is made out of a recycled product. Here is an explanation of some symbols that we are frequently asked about.

When a product states that it is widely recycled it means that 75 per cent or more of councils across the country provide recycling collection facilities for that packaging type. South Holland can recycle any product with this symbol on.

When you are asked to check your local recycling on your packaging it means 20-75 per cent of councils across the country provide recycling collection facilities for this product. All products with this symbol on can be recycled in South Holland.

The most confusing of all is not currently recycled labels. In the example inset it refers to plastic film which can be recycled in South Holland. By stating that it is not currently recycled the manufacturer is saying that less than 20 per cent of councils across the country accept this material.

In South Holland we are very lucky with the amount of different plastics that we can put in our green bags, including pots, tubs, trays, plastic film, plastic bags and plastic bottles. If it fits into one of these categories then you can be sure that it is recyclable in our district.

The best thing to do is check the latest recycling advice online at www.greenbaglottery.co.uk or collect a recycling wheel from the council offices. Remember, if in doubt leave it out.

Although we can recycle a great range of plastics there are some that we need to avoid putting out for collection. Plastics that cannot be included in the green bag include hard plastics. These are things like children’s toys, washing baskets, buckets and plastic plant pots.

Unfortunately these items would count as contamination if they turn up in our recycling so we are urging our residents to stop putting these out for collection and reminding our crews that these items are not recyclable.

Another type of plastic product that a lot of people are confused about is blister packs that tablets are packaged in. These are often a mix of plastic and foil which is hard to separate so we ask our residents not to put these in green bags.

A similar problem is seen with crisp packets that are lined with foil and covered in plastic. These cannot be recycled as this are another example of a mixed material product.

Other types of plastic that we commonly find in green bags are VHS tapes, cassette tapes and DVD cases, all of which cannot be recycled. In fact VHS tapes and cassette tapes can cause the recycling plant to shut down as the tape can get tangled around the machinery.

Remember to keep up to date with the latest recycling information to make sure you are recycling right. Please recycle after reading.