Plastics

  • Plastic Bottles and Containers

    From April 1st 2015, residents in West Sussex can recycle plastic bottles and containers.

Yes please

All plastic bottles e.g. drinks, bathroom and detergent bottles

All plastic pots e.g. yoghurt, cream and cottage cheese pots

All plastic tubs e.g. ice cream, margarine, cosmetics, and laundry tubs

All plastic food trays e.g. food, meat, fruit, microwave trays and Easter egg packaging

All plastic Lids e.g. container & jar lids

No thanks:

Plastic films e.g. cling film, the covers of food trays and peel-back lids

Plastic bags e.g. carrier bags, bin liners, cereal bags, sandwich bags, and bread bags

Plastic bottle tops

Crisp packets and wrappers

Polystyrene

Plastic toys

Garden plastics e.g. Plant pots, seed trays, tools and furniture

Remember ALL Recycling MUST be CLEAN, DRY and LOOSE

Plastics recycling FAQs

What plastics can I recycle in West Sussex?

Residents in West Sussex can recycle plastic bottles and containers.  Plastics are polymers, chains of molecules produced by smaller molecules called monomers. There are many different types of plastics depending on their molecular make up and shape. These plastics can be recycled and made into new products such as fleeces, pillows or new plastic bottles.

Does it matter what colour plastic bottle and containers I put in my recycling bin/box?

No, the colour of your plastic bottles and containers does not matter; it should be clean, dry and loose. No plastic bags and bottle tops, if in doubt leave it out.

Should I remove tops from the bottles?

Yes, bottle tops are often made from a different type of plastic to the rest of the bottle and will therefore have different chemical properties. If the two are recycled together chemical reactions occur affecting the end product. As the top is screwed on to the bottle it becomes difficult to remove automatically and so can readily contaminate the plastic by mixing the two types together.

Do I need to wash out my plastic bottles and containers?

Yes, after using your plastic bottle and containers, it should be rinsed out in used washing-up water to remove any liquid and food residue still in the bottle and container. As well as providing a clean material for plastic recyclers you will also help to prevent food contamination on other recyclables such as paper and card, which would make them unsuitable for recycling.

Can’t I recycle non-bottle shaped items like margarine tubs, yoghurt pots, food trays etc?

Yes, these items (PP and PS) are now suitable for recycling but must be clean, dry and loose; free from contaminated food debris.

Where do my plastic bottles and containers I send for recycling end up?

After the contents of your recycling bin/box are collected from the kerbside the material is sorted at a Materials Recovery Facility into the separate material streams. Plastic bottles and containers are then sent off either to be:

Reformed — whereby plastic is melted down and reformed into new material e.g. fibres for fleeces, pillows or new plastic bottles.

Reprocessed — whereby more brittle plastics are transformed into new plastic products such as recycled plastic furniture.

Plastics can be recycled into all kinds of materials, including polyethylene bin liners and carrier bags; PVC sewer pipes, flooring and window frames; building insulation board; fencing and garden furniture; water butts and composters; anoraks and fleeces; fibre filling for sleeping bags and duvets.

I’ve seen television programmes where waste is illegally exported, ending up in foreign landfill sites. Can you reassure me that West Sussex does not do this?

The exporting of waste materials is controlled by strict legislation and enforced by the Environment Agency. West Sussex does export some plastics for recycling as this route provides good value and a sustainable outlet for the material. All exports of recyclate from West Sussex comply with all relevant legislation.

The materials that are exported are sent as clean, sorted ’single stream’ materials. This means they do not require additional sorting and are sold for reprocessing into new products in the same way as ’virgin’ plastics.

What about carrier bags?

Some supermarkets offer plastic carrier bag recycling points but it can be difficult to recycle them because there is no easy way to separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable plastic bags, which cannot be recycled together. The best solution is to use re-useable or ’bag for life’ shopping bags, which reduces the amount of carrier bags in circulation.

Did you know?

The energy saved by recycling one plastic drink bottle will power a computer for 25 minutes. 

Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning in an incinerator.

Plastic carrier bags can be returned to some supermarket for recycling.

Recyclable materials should be placed in your recycling bin loose not in plastic bags.

It takes 25 two litre plastic bottles to make an adult fleece jacket.