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Commingled plastics force recyclers to import material - COMMENT UPDATE

Plastics recycler Linpac has had to import materials because it cannot get the right quality from UK collections, a BBC investigation will reveal tonight. Inside Out on BBC One has found that Linpac, in Castleford imports 40% of its plastic from Belgium and Holland, while much of the UKs waste plastic is shipped to China.

Linpac said it was forced to look abroad for raw materials even though thousands of tonnes of suitable plastic are left out for recycling by Yorkshire residents. Linpac Managers said that the quality of commingled collections was not good enough to use.

I think the man in the street is going to remain somewhat astounded at the reality of what is going on, said Linpac purchasing manager Bernard Chase. Quality has deteriorated because of the expediency of commingled collections and the ease with which this can be exported. I think we need a change of emphasis.

Yorwaste recycling and external affairs manager John Miller said: At the moment this valuable resource is worth more if we export it to China than leave it in the domestic market. The market is very strong for this mixed plastic and we havent got a secure outlet in the UK.

Programme makers also spoke to Berryman Glass, based in Knottingley, which said commingled collections are causing it major problems because glass quality from such sources is less reliable than that from traditional bottle banks.

The programme will be shown on BBC 1 at 7.30pm on February 22 2008.

Comment update

Linpac's purchasing manager Bernard Chase added: Linpac would definitely prefer to champion recycling in the UK through the use of home sourced dry recyclables.

"Unfortunately the target driven commingled method of collection that has come to dominate the UK recycling infrastructure does not provide the required quantity of quality driven recycled material that can be obtained from source segregated collections.

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