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Councils slammed as 'archaic' over plastic bottles slight

A senior industry figure has branded councils that do not collect plastic bottles for recycling as “archaic” and accused them of presiding over “environmental madness” as the sector gears up for a huge targets hike. 

Closed Loop Recycling managing director Chris Dow welcomed proposed new plastics packaging recycling targets but said they would require changes at council level.  

Defra has outlined plans to rachet up the plastics packaging recycling targets by 5 percentage points per year, from 32% in 2012 to 57%by 2017.

Dow said: “The first thing that needs to happen is we need to look at the 39 councils that are not collecting plastic bottles at the kerbside and ask why. I really believe its environmental madness.

“I have approached many of them. I’ve offered all sorts of deals. I know of one village in a local authority in Kent that has organised its own bottle collection because the council won’t do it.”

Dow said the targets were achievable, good for the environment and would gives investors confidence in the industry. 

But he added: “We need to start thinking about how we increase bottle collection. Bottles are the low hanging fruit.”

The Local Government Association said that whether councils collected bottles or not was a local decision.

Recycling has been a huge success story for councils. The amount of waste we recycle has more than doubled in the past decade.

A LGA spokesman added: “Local authorities are continuing to build on this success, and are working with residents to determine the waste collection service that is best for the environment and best for the residents in their area.”

Some 35 English local authorities are not collecting plastic bottles, along with four in Scotland, according to Wrap’s most recent data, compiled in October 2011. Welsh and Northern Irish authorities have a 100% plastic bottle collection rate.

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