Mixed plastics include food trays, punnets, tubs and pots. We are only able to recycle plastic bottles, our reasons for this are:
- lack of market for mixed plastics
- limited space at the recycling depot where the materials are tipped and stored before going on to be recycled
- costs of transporting and sorting plastics
In the Forest of Dean, the collection vehicles need to be narrow to allow access to the lanes in our mainly rural district. This limits the vehicle capacity and means that we need more vehicles compared to an urban area for the same number of households. Increasing our capacity would cost more.
In total there are over 50 different types of plastic. To recycle them effectively they are sorted back into types at a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). There is no local MRF so collecting more types of plastics would increase the environmental impact and cost of transport and sorting.
If we collect mixed plastics then we cannot guarantee there will be a market for them.
We collect type 1 (PET) and type 2 (HDPE) plastic bottles because there is a demand for this type of plastic for reuse. We can be confident that they are being recycled.
Any expansion of the service will require investment in infrastructure, vehicles and crews.