Plastic recycling in the borough
Why can't we recycle mixed plastics?
Mixed recycling collected in Hampshire is sorted at one of two Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), 97% of plastic bottles are made of two plastic polymer types (PET and HDPE). Our MRFs can sort these bottles from other materials using infra-red light. Other plastic packaging types (pots, tubs, trays and films) are made of different polymers. Unfortunately, there are currently limited markets available for these plastic types. If we were to collect them, there is no guarantee that they could be recycled or processed in the UK at this time.
We continue to monitor markets and are seeking ways of increasing the range of items that we can accept for recycling. In the meantime, we recover value from all black bag rubbish by safely incinerating it at one of three Energy Recovery Facilities in the county. This creates enough electricity to power 50,000 homes every year. As a result, Hampshire sends less than 10% of all household waste to landfill.
Unfortunately due to a drop in the market for recycling mixed plastics we had to close the plastic recycling banks in 2018 while we look for other markets for recycling this material.
You can still continue to recycle clean plastic bottles including drink bottles, milk bottles, shampoo and bleach bottles in your kerbside green bin and place all other plastics in your grey waste bin. Any plastic that is not a bottle should be placed in your grey bin.
What plastic can I recycle?
In addition to reducing the use of plastics in our everyday lives, here are some top tips to use less plastic:
- Take a look at what plastic you’re throwing away every day and ask yourself if you really need it. For example, to keep leftover food fresh cover it with a plate or a bowl instead of cling film.
- Avoid excess food packaging – farm shops, greengrocers, markets and larger supermarkets offer loose fruit and vegetables. Choose unpackaged items where possible to reduce plastic use.
- Swap disposable for reusable. Take a reusable cup when you go to buy your daily coffee or tea. Take your own reusable bag when shopping instead of using plastic bags and bring your own knife and fork to work for any takeaway lunches.
- Say no to plastic straws – when going out for a drink refuse plastic straws and instead encourage pubs and cafes to use cardboard straws.
- Take time to dine in – seek out unpackaged food wherever possible, make your own ‘real food’ whenever you can, or take the time to dine in instead of getting takeaway food in plastic containers.
Find out what you can put in your green recycling bin by taking a look at the video below:
If you have an enquiry about recycling, send a message to the Waste and Recycling Team