We only recycle plastic bottles in Greater Manchester. People are sometimes confused about this and put all types of low grade plastic packaging in their mixed recycling bin – things like margarine tubs, food trays and yoghurt pots. We want these in the general waste bin so they can be turned into electricity.
There are really good reasons why we can only recycle plastic bottles in Greater Manchester.
• Manufacturers that make new products only want high grade plastics. High grade = plastic bottles.
• Plastics like yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and plastic trays (pots, tubs and trays) are low grade plastics and the manufacturers just don’t want these to make new products out of. As there is a low demand for this type of plastic, there are very few recycling plants that can recycle these and there just isn’t the capacity to take the volume that we have in Greater Manchester.
• During the recycling process, the plastic is melted. A plastic pot, tub, tray and a plastic bottle melt at different temperatures, meaning the pots, tubs and trays contaminate the bottles and the batch can’t be used to make new products.
Other areas across the UK may collect plastic pots, tubs and trays, but at the moment very little is recycled – most of it is turned into electricity. We are reviewing the plastic market and if the market for this type of recycled plastic changes or manufacturers start to make packaging out of plastic that can be recycled more easily, then we will review our policy.