On the back of the BBC’s War on Plastics programme, a number of you have asked about what happens to the plastics we recycle in Dudley.
So we want to explain exactly what happens to the plastics you pop in your recycling bag and why we ask residents to separate their recyclables.
Unlike authorities who choose to comingle their recycling (mixing different types of recyclable waste into one large bin), Dudley asks you to separate your recycling at the kerbside. This makes it a far more valuable resource for recycling as we avoid many of the common disadvantages of comingling, such as high levels of contamination, which often results in materials being rejected at processing plants.
With your help to separate the waste, we know the materials we collect from you can be recycled and fully processed. You are helping us achieve greater results and most importantly contributing to a better standard of recycled materials which can only benefit the environment.
In terms of plastic, we are able to collect a mixture of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) such as soft drink bottles, vegetable oil bottles and so on and HDPE (high density polyethylene) such as milk bottles, cleansing product bottles. The plastics are all taken to our Blowers Green depot, where they are collected by contractors for reprocessing.
In 2018/19 all HDPE plastics are reprocessed within the UK and 89 percent of the PET plastics we recycle are reprocessed in the UK, with the remaining 11 percent going to Turkey, Germany or Holland for reprocessing.
We would love for all of our PET plastics to be reprocessed in this country, but at the moment the infrastructure isn’t here – there just aren’t enough recycling plants to meet the demand. The good news on that front is the government has recently announced two new grants to fund capital infrastructure projects in England, which aim to help drive the recycling of plastic packaging and textiles.
We hope this gives you a better understanding of why we do what we do in Dudley.
Everyone has a responsibility to help.