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Pledge 4 Plastic: Helping to Increase Plastic Recycling Rates

Posted on 5th December 2014

In recent years recycling has become a big issue. The European Union has set a target of recycling 50% of all household waste by the end of the decade, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) putting last year’s figure in the UK at 44.2%; only slightly increased from 2012’s figure of 44.1%.

Plastic Recycling Facts and Stats

Both the government and local authorities have also set challenging targets to increase plastic recycling rates over the next five years and the Pledge 4 Plastics iniative has been set up to highlight the many ways plastic can be given a new lease of life.

Pledge 4 Plastics

Pledge 4 Plastics is a government backed initiative which aims to help increase the levels of plastic recycling across the UK. It is being led by plastic recycling charity, Recoup and has developed a number of partnerships with leading names such as Coca Cola, Marks & Spencer, Nestle and Unilever. By making people more aware of the amount of plastic which can be recycled and how it can be transformed into new items, they hope to increase the levels of recycling.

  • All 407 of the local authorities in the UK offer collection services for plastic bottles, with nearly all of them collecting directly from your home or business.
  • Every year approximately 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging is used in the UK.
  • Approximately 33 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK – that equates to an estimated 540,000 tonnes of plastic.
  • In 2012 316,000 tonnes of plastic bottles were collected for recycling – that’s a recycling rate of 58%

The Recycling Journey

We are told that we should do more to recycle the plastic we use, but what happens to your waste once it goes into your recycling bin and how is it transformed into something new? Well here is the answer:

  • You place your empty plastic bottle in a recycling bin
  • Recycling trucks transport it to a local sorting centre
  • The bottles are sorted into different material types
  • Bottles are then squashed and made into solid blocks called bales.
  • The bottles are shredded and turned into flakes which is then washed to remove and trace of labels and dirt
  • The plastic flakes are then sorted once again, before being blown down pipes into bags or boxes
  • It is now ready to be passed to recyclers and manufacturers where it can be used in the creation of new products such as clothes, toys, furniture and other everyday items.

For more information about Pledge 4 Plastics and to get hints and tips on how to maximise the amount of plastic you are recycling at home, visit www.pledge4plastics.co.uk.

Basket of empty plastic bottles

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