Plastic polythene packaging

Filed in by on June 13, 2008 5 Comments

plastic packaging and polythene
What is polythene used for?

Soft (low density) polythene is a type of plastic used to wrap toilet rolls, kitchen towel, magazines, bread and fruit and vegetables in the supermarket. You use it to wrap your sandwiches and rings made from low density polythene hold your four pack of beer together.

How do I know if I have low density polythene?

You’ll rarely find a code or description on soft plastic packaging to know what it is. But if there is a code, you’re looking for a 2 or 4. If you have no code, the way to test whether or not you have polythene is to stretch it.

That’s right, dear hearts, give it a good, long, hard stretch.

If it’s soft and stretchy without splitting or snapping, then you’ve got yourself a whole heaping pile of glorious polythene to send to the lovely people at Polyprint Mailing films in Norwich for recycling.

What type of polythene can I send for recycling?

The lady I spoke to at Polyprint told me that it doesn’t matter if the polythene is plain or printed but it must NOT have degradable or biodegradable written on it. The biodegradable polythene contaminates the new batch and starts to break it down. In addition, Polyprint will not recycle plastic bottles (high density) they only recycle the soft plastic polythene used for wrapping and packaging.

For details of your nearest recycling facility for plastic bottles, check the Recycle Now site.

Can anyone send their plastic polythene for recycling?

I learned that Polyprint have been in business for over 10 years and people from all over the UK, including Jersey, send their polythene to them for recycling. Whether you have a business or are a regular householder, you can mail your clean polythene packaging to them. Cut out any sticky labels with your address or similar on before sending to them, as this clogs up their machines.

In addition she asked that people include their contact details with each batch of polythene you send to them. Sometimes people send them materials that are not suitable and they have no way of contacting the sender to inform them. If they know who you are, they can tell you what you have done wrong and why, so that you don’t do it again!

Do Polyprint cover my mailing costs?

You do have to post to Polyprint at your own expense. They make no money from this process and simply do it as their contribution to the environment. It’s a service that is well worth supporting in our opinion.

Please visit their website to learn more about recycling polythene, find their contact details and give them a hearty cheer for all that they do.

I learnt something else today as well. Some supermarket branches will take this type of plastic polythene packaging in with their carrier bags for recycling! Sainsbury’s tell me that any of their branches that offer carrier bag recycling also take polythene bags. So do ask and leave a comment below with any stores that say yes!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (5)

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  1. Sue says:

    That’s great news. Particularly if a local supermarket can take it.

  2. maisie says:

    I buy glass bottles for all of my sauces and salad dressings and then transfer them into plastic squeezy bottles, for safety, which are thoroughly washed once a month.

  3. David says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if all supermarkets did this, since they provide us with so much food packaging.

  4. Ali Mauger says:

    Does anyone know where I can recycle Amazon Prime bubble wrap lined plastic mailing envelopes? I don’t think they’re polythene. I have several now and I am loathed to put them in the bin! I’d really appreciate a steer if anyone knows. Thanks so much.

    • Deborah says:

      You can’t. Send them to be incinerated if you live in the right area, but multi-material objects like plastic lined paper envelopes are just too time-consuming to try to separate into the different materials to go to different recycling streams.

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