Rochdale Recycling

Plastic Waste Recycling

Plastic waste recycling in the UK

As a country, here in the UK we are dedicated to a variety of types of recycling. Households up and down the UK have made much more of an effort to ensure that cardboard, cans and even food is properly disposed of and recycled.

Unfortunately; it still seems as if one material in particular is being left behind the others when it comes to recycling and that is plastic.

Plastic recycling in the UK

Compared to the other materials being recycled, Britain, as a whole, still seems to be failing to recycle the plastic waste that it produces. In fact, during 2014 a study by the WWF found that the UK produced 4.9 million tonnes of plastic waste. During that year, only 1.2 million tonnes of that plastic waste was actually recycled.

Things have got better of late, but there is still a long way to go. In fact, studies have shown that we are still only recycling as little as one third of the waste that we produce as a country.

So, what can be done about it?

Needless to say, things need to change and there has definitely been a drive to make sure that we, as a country are dedicated to ensuring that we recycle as much of the plastic waste as we can. We are also seeing more and more supermarkets reducing their use of plastic. Which is also a great way to ensure that we throw away less plastic.

Studies have found that one of the biggest hurdles to ensuring that plastic is properly recycled is that people across the UK feel confused about the process and what they can or cannot recycle.

The main issue seems to be that as people, in our everyday lives, we come a wealth of different forms of plastic. For the most part, it can be seemingly impossible to the difference between all these different types of plastics and now which ones can be placed in your recycling box and which ones can’t.

Of course, we could all take the time to educate ourselves on the key differences between polyethylene terephthalate and polyvinyl chloride, but this would require us to be some kind of plastics expert, which chances are that we don’t all have the time for.

Another option, one that definitely have a positive impact on the world of recycling, is to make it much easier for those responsible for recycling to process the materials. You can do this in a variety of ways; however, one that is likely to work the best is to have tracers or watermarks on the plastic itself, which, when viewed under a UV light, will allow the type of plastic to be identified and then sorted accordingly.

Hasn’t the plastic waste we produce been sent to China until now?

One hurdle that may arise with the recycling of plastic waste here in the UK (not to mention across the rest of Europe) is that the recycled plastic that we produce is not the same quality as fresh, virgin plastic materials. This means that we ship out our plastic waste to countries such as China, who will use it for themselves in their manufacturing and production.

However, if we took steps into changing the way that we recycled the plastic waste that we produce, then we may find that it is to a standard that we can then go ahead and use in our own manufacturing.

The important thing to remember is that we all have a part to play in recycling, no matter what materials it is that we want to recycle. Make sure that you make yourself aware of what you are using and the best way to recycle it and you can make sure that even the smallest effort is going to have a positive impact on our planet and in turn our lives.


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