From today (Wednesday April 1) West Sussex residents can recycle even more plastic in their household waste recycling.
Now instead of ending their existence in a landfill, West Sussex’s plastic pots, tubs and trays will get a new lease of life as, amongst other things, garden furniture, duvets, carpets or even a fleece jacket.
Residents can now place plastic containers such as yoghurt pots, ice cream tubs, fruit and vegetable punnets and ready meal trays into their household recycling collection alongside plastic drink, detergent and bathroom bottles. The only requirement is that they are clean, dry and loose.
But what happens to a yoghurt pot when it’s put into the recycling bin?
In West Sussex all household recycling collected from the kerbside is taken to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Ford, a state-of-the-art facility that mechanically sorts the different types of materials.
Once the plastics have been separated from the paper, glass, tins and foil they are squashed into solid plastic blocks called bales and these are sent away to be shredded into small chips. The chips are then passed on to manufacturers who melt them down and reprocess them into new goods and products for people to use again.
David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “Plastic pots, tubs and trays take an extremely long time to break down, often sitting in landfill for years without showing the smallest signs of decay. It also costs the County Council more money to send waste to landfill than it does to recycle it, so there are real environmental and economic benefits to the changes we are making to household recycling collections.
“Our residents are already doing a great job when it comes to recycling, and I want to thank them for their efforts so far. But we can always do better and I know that they will embrace these changes and help us to recycle even more of our waste plastic in West Sussex.”
To find out more about recycling in West Sussex, including what can be placed in household recycling bins, please visit www.recycleforwestsussex.org/plastics
From 1 April plastics that can be accepted in household recycling are:
• Milk and drinks bottles
• Bathroom bottles
• Laundry/detergent bottles and tubs
• Yoghurt, cream and soup pots
• Ice cream and margarine tubs
• Cosmetic pots and tubs
• Food and ready meal trays
• Fruit and vegetable punnets
• Plastic container lids (such as those used on coffee jars)
Plastic that cannot be put in household recycling:
• Plastic carrier bags and plastic film
• Expanded polystyrene
• Plant pots and seed trays
• Plastic toys
• Plastic furniture