Hard plastics recycling in the UK
I know you shouldn’t envy your friends – though shalt not covet and all that, but I don’t mind admitting to a bit of the green-eyed monster regarding our zero waste heroine Mrs Average.
Over in her neck of the woods (Suffolk in case you’re wondering) they have hard plastics recycling!That means all the redundant patio furniture, broken kids’ toys, the myriad of plastic gardening pots that end up cracking and erm, even plastic toilet seats can be given a new lease of life at their Household recycling centres.
Just think of *that*!
Apart from a bit of film packaging from food, every household could be virtually zero waste!
Now I know there is a bit of uncertainty about household recycling centres. The question on everybody’s lips is “What really happens to my recycling?” Come on, admit it – we’ve all wondered whether it actually ends up in landfill, burned or shipped off to China.
To put an end to all this suspicion, Mrs Average hot footed it, along with her local council’s waste management provider (FCC Environment) up to EMR & MBA Polymers to do a spot of filming. They discovered that not only are these companies creating recycled plastic that matches the quality of virgin polymer, but the procedure uses only 10% of the energy required to make equivalent polymers from oil; contributing to a saving of almost 3 tonnes of CO2 emissions per tonne of plastics produced.
The proportion of hard plastic materials that are currently recycled is far smaller than for any other recyclable material and many household plastic items are still ending up in landfill. Since 2011 all household recycling centres in Suffolk have had hard plastic recycling facilities.
They have diverted over 2800 tonnes of this material from landfill since 2010.
If you watch the video you’ll see the entire journey from recycling centre to end product: From the household recycling sites, hard plastics are taken to EMR in Liverpool docks; the largest site of its type in Europe. Here the first stage of the recycling happens – removing metal contamination. After that the material is taken to MBA polymers in Nottinghamshire.
At MBA polymers, the polymers are separated, remaining contaminants are removed and the material is turned into pellets which are then used to make recycled products for the construction and horticulture industries as well as rigid packaging. It seems that eventually MBA polymers want to target the car manufacturing industry.
Take a look at the video; it’s inspiring and features cutting edge technology and our favourite eco heroine looks magnificent!
Now, if we could get this facility rolled out across the UK I might be a happy bunny…