Plastic bags will not be allowed to be disposed of in blue bins, council says
Plastic bags and plastic food film will no longer be accepted in blue rubbish bins - with a council instead urging people to put them in black bins so the waste can be incinerated.
But although some local authorities have stopped accepting other plastic materials because of problems with recycling plants in the Far East, Suffolk County Council says it will still accept clean plastic food packaging in blue bins.
The council’s contractor has a specialist plant at Rochester in Kent, and two thirds of the plastics it receives are recycled in the UK. The rest is recycled in Europe or Asia.
The Chinese government has recently banned the import of many plastics for recycling because plants in the country were unable to cope with the amount of plastic being created in their own country.
This has led to some councils in the UK saying they would have to reconsider their plastic collection service – Swindon council is already planning to stop collecting any plastic apart from clear bottles.
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A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “It has become increasingly difficult to find markets for plastic bags and film so we will no longer be accepting this material for recycling at Suffolk’s recycling centres from October 25.
“You are advised to place them in the non-recyclable container at the recycling centre or in your household rubbish bin and they will be used for energy recovery which makes electricity to power homes in Suffolk.
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“Supermarkets may still accept them but you should always check in store.”
The council’s contractor is Viridor Waste Management – and the company’s head of international trading regularly visits plants across the world to ensure its waste is dealt with ethically.
Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for waste, said: “Nationally there has been a drop in usage of plastic bags of 83% since 2014.
“For those that remain, it has become increasingly difficult to find markets for plastic bags and film and we are now unable to accept them for recycling.
“Any plastic bags and film that are brought to recycling centres will be sent to Suffolk’s Energy from Waste facility where they will be used to generate electricity.”