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What happens to my plastic?

What plastic can I recycle at home?

Bottles…bottles and even more bottles! They all go in your mixed recycling bin. These include: drinks bottles, shampoo and shower gel bottles, trigger spray bottles, cleaning product bottles and milk bottles.

What happens to my plastic bottles?

Plastic bottles that you put in your mixed recycling bin along with your aerosols, foil, foil trays, drink cans, food tins, glass bottles and jars are delivered to our Materials Recovery Facility in Sharston. Here, your plastic bottles are sorted then baled. These go to a reprocessor for further sorting and then are shredded and cleaned, ready to be remanufactured into new products. 

Do the plastic bottles I recycle end up in other countries?

From January to March 2019, 49% of the plastic bottles you recycled were sold to reprocessors in the UK and 51% in the EU.  This is subject to change, as it is dependent on market prices and the quality of the recycling.

Why can’t I recycle other plastics like pots, tubs and trays?

Unlike plastic bottles which are mainly made of two types of plastic (HDPE and PET) plastic pots, tubs, trays, bags and film are made of a range of different types of plastic.

All plastics in theory can be recycled but it is not always technically or economically viable. In Greater Manchester, we only collect plastic bottles because there is a sustainable market for them and we can guarantee they will be recycled.

Other council areas in the UK collect plastic pots, tubs and trays, so why can’t Greater Manchester?

There are no sustainable end markets for pots, tubs and trays as these tend to be more difficult to recycle and made out of a lower quality plastic. Other council areas across the UK may collect plastic pots, tubs and trays, however not all of it gets recycled, some are used to make electricity or some may end up in landfill.

What happens to the other plastic I put in my general waste bin?

Most of your general waste is delivered to a Mechanical Treatment and Reception facility in Greater Manchester for shredding and compacted into containers.  These are delivered by rail to the Energy Recovery facility in Runcorn to be made into electricity. Some of the general waste is delivered to our Thermal Recovery facility in Bolton.

If a plastic pot is labelled as PET, same as a plastic bottle, why can’t I recycle it in my mixed recycling bin?

Some pots tubs and trays are made of the same type of plastic as bottles but not the same quality. Remanufacturers only want high quality plastic.

Why do I need to take the lids off my plastic bottles before I recycle them?

Some lids are made of a different type of plastic to the bottle itself. At our Materials Recovery Facility, loose bottle tops end up with the glass bottle and jars which affects the quality of the glass recycling.

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Important information about building and DIY waste

Any waste produced by tradespeople or builders you hired to carry out improvements, repair or alterations to your home is classed as business waste and can’t be disposed of at any of our Recycling Centres. Always ask a tradesperson to include waste disposal in their quote. If you are recycling or disposing of business waste, visit the business waste page.

Recycle for Greater Manchester