Buy products with no packaging

PUBLISHED: 11:59 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 21:15 29 May 2010

THANK you to Keith Silver for his informative contribution on plastics recycling. He is of course entirely right that all plastics are recyclable. Uttlesford has always only recycled plastics numbered one to three as other types are problematic. These, as

THANK you to Keith Silver for his informative contribution on plastics recycling. He is of course entirely right that all plastics are recyclable.

Uttlesford has always only recycled plastics numbered one to three as other types are problematic. These, as Keith Silver points out, are PET (mainly fizzy drink bottles), HDPE (mainly milk and detergent bottles) and PVC (mainly squash and shampoo bottles).

These plastics are of a single polymer type, which makes the recycling process straight forward. And they are relatively easy for the public and recycling staff to identify.

The other plastics are more complex because they often involve blends of different materials. It's why plastic caps should be removed before recycling bottles. They also tend to contain food leftovers, which contaminate the plastic recycling process.

Even if these plastics could be recycled easily there is at present a limited market for products made from them.

Carrier-bag recycling facilities are now available in some supermarkets. Because of their light weight there are a limited number of products that can be produced from them and this is why it is really only economic at present for supermarkets to do this.

We will certainly keep the situation under review as new recycling techniques or if new markets develop to see whether it becomes effective to recycle more plastic and other items.

It is important also to remember the other two 'Rs' in the recycling equation - reduce and re-use. The best way to deal with plastics is to avoid using them in the first place. Look for products with less packaging and buy products that are durable and long-lasting.

If any reader wants help or advice on these issues they can call the council's hotline on 01799 510344.

Cllr Alan Thawley

Chairman of the Environment Committee

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