Council puts plastic recycling proposal on hold until publication of government strategy

A proposal to turn Swindon households’ plastic waste into a fuel for industry has been put on hold until after the Government publishes its new Resources and Waste Strategy.

Published: Wednesday, 28th November 2018
Plastics

Swindon Borough Council asked residents what they thought about the idea during a six-week engagement process designed to shape the Council’s 10-year draft waste strategy.

The temporary proposal, which was suggested following national concerns about whether UK plastic waste exported for recycling actually is recycled and not sent to landfill in other countries, would involve residents putting their plastic into their black bins or blue bags where it would be dried and sorted at Swindon’s solid recovered fuel (SRF) plant into a fuel used by industry across Europe. The SRF plant has been processing non-recyclable household waste in this way since 2014.

But with the Government due to publish its strategy for dealing with waste, including plastics, over the coming months, the Council is proposing to hold fire on any changes to its plastic recycling collection service until it has first analysed any new policy announcements.

The Council will also give further consideration to the future method of collection and treatment of plastics recycling in order to provide the best operational and economic outcome for Swindon and the environment.

Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and the Environment, said: “Any changes to the way we deal with plastic waste needs to be carefully considered and the engagement exercise we carried out with residents showed that around half felt that putting plastic waste in with their general rubbish would have an impact on them, including having sufficient bin space.

“With the Government’s own waste strategy still to be published, we felt it only sensible to wait to see how it addresses the issue of single-use plastics and the widespread concerns around how well some plastics exported for recycling are being managed.

“This pause also allows us to do further research into collection methods and the treatment of plastic recycling so we provide the best service we can for Swindon residents.”

Further information on the Council’s Waste Strategy, which will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet next Wednesday (5 Dec) can be found here.

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