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Dudley Council
Dudley Skyline

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.

How can we contribute to cut down of use of single use plastics?

Whenever you go shopping take a bag with you.

Consider keeping a bag for life or a foldable shopping bag with you. You’ll be saving money by reusing!

Reusable coffee cups are becoming the norm, instead of the takeaway plastic varieties.

This is a good idea as many cafes and coffee shops are offering small discounts – so it’s good for both the environment and your pocket!

Use reusable water bottles whenever you get the chance.

You can download an app to find your free local refill station -

Use paper straws, or even better – no straws at all

From 2020 there are plans to ban plastic straws in the UK

Foil is far more efficient than cling film and can be recycled.

A new alternative is Beeswax wraps which keep your food fresh and are reusable

Avoid excessive food packing when purchasing items.

Many manufacturers are reducing their packaging but it is always useful to keep your eyes peeled for better options. Farmers markets, markets and fresh fruit/veg counters are a good option

Get your milk delivered to your home in glass bottles.

Many milk rounds now offer many other foods and drinks to aid with convenience for customers.  To find a local milk delivery go to

If you are a tea drinker, consider buying loose tea!

Tea bags contain micro plastics within their sealant.  If you want to continue with tea bags, biodegradable ones are a good option

Zero food waste shops are on the increase and give you the opportunity to use your own containers to buy food.

Pre-packaged items are usually in an environmental friendly packaging.  For more about Zero Waste shops go to Zero Waste Locator

Keep a spoon/fork or spork in your bag and desk!

Food outlets often hand out plastic disposable cutlery when you purchase a takeaway, which we all usually throw away.

Reduce the use of sauce sachets

Ask for bottles or jars of condiments rather than sachets

If you enjoy a drop of wine, consider purchasing bottles with a cork!

Corks are easy to recycle or repurchased.  To find out how corks can be used in recycling go to