Reducing contamination of recyclable waste is main focus of local authorities communicating with residents, reveals survey

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24th March 2021 16:57 - Local Government

Reducing contamination of recyclable waste is main focus of local authorities communicating with residents: A survey of local authorities looking at the opportunities and challenges of waste management has found that the main focus for the majority (57%) has been around communicating to residents about reducing contamination when they recycle.

The Households Plastics Collection Survey by resource management charity, RECOUP UK, polled 382 UK local authorities, finding that for the first time, they all had collected plastic bottles for recycling. It did however also find that the number of authorities collecting plastic films and flexibles such as magazine wrappers, cereal bags, bread bags, bubble wrap and plastic carrier bags fell to just 14% from 16% the previous year. The survey highlights the issue that of the 395,000 tonnes of plastic film used by consumers every year, just 22,000 tonnes are collected for recycling (7%). Just 55 of the 382 local authorities collect plastic films as part of their recycling services. Of these, just 23 take plastic bags for recycling, while just a single local council accepts bubble wrap.

Looking at contamination levels when recycling, the research found that as well as being the main focus of communications with residents for 57% of local authorities, almost half (46%) are currently planning new communications about recycling plastics.

The survey also found that almost six in 10 local authorities (59%) collect food waste separately to general household waste, with 44% having a dedicated food waste collection.

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