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Mixed plastics are recipe for disaster

Mixed plastics collections are a recipe for disaster claims the latest recruit to the quality Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR). After joining CRR Chase Plastics managing director Jessica Baker warned that: Collecting mixed polymer food trays, plastic film and containers in a commingled recycling bin is a recipe for disaster. Householders are keen to recycle everything, but we see no reason to jeopardise the quality of all recyclables for just 5% of the waste stream. Her comments came as the first mixed plastic collection scheme was recently announced by Ealing Council (October 9 2007 rwminfo.com). Baker said: Food residue from this [mixed plastics] material will contaminate all the recyclables, and the film element will cause havoc in material recycling facility operations, getting tangled in machinery and obscuring the sorting equipment. Even if the mixed plastics could be successfully sorted out from other recyclables, there is no obvious end market for this material at present. She said that careful collection and handling was key to recycling the maximum amount of UK waste. While she added that more focus should be put on improving bottle sorting facilities as they are easier to clean and consist of only two polymers, PET and HDPE. However, Baker said: The UK still has a way to go in plastic bottle recycling, relative to the rest of Europe. CRR coordinator Andy Moore said: We are pleased to welcome Chase Plastics to the campaign and the timely expertise they bring on plastic film and plastics reprocessing and collection generally. The need to separate to achieve quality is even more marked with plastics, which brings a number of polymer streams to address.

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