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Plastics collections set to increase across the UK

By Greg Pitcher

The UK is set for a rapid growth in kerbside plastics collections, according to two key bodies.

Recoup and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) believe many councils are realising the light material can make a big contribution to their weight-based targets.

Currently only 5% of plastic bottles are recovered by local authorities, despite the fact they account for around 10% of general refuse.

But the reaction of local authorities to a series of WRAP seminars has convinced the market-development body and trade organisation Recoup that change is on the way.

WRAP plastics sector manager Paul Davidson said: I expect to see plastic-bottle collections grow quite fast. The feedback we have had from local authorities has been extremely encouraging far better than I expected.

Public demand is driving councils to consider plastics collections, and Government funding is allowing them to make this a reality.

Recoup chief executive Andrew Simmons added: Plastic-bottle collections are certainly growing quickly at the moment.

Increasing use of alternate-week collections and a growth in sorting and baling infrastructure is allowing plastic to be added to kerbside collection schemes.

The reaction of local authorities at the four seminars so far has been very positive and I think we will see this turned into activity.

Davidson said the main barrier to increasing plastics collections was a misinformed view that it was hard to find buyers for the material. He said there were well-developed markets for plastic bottles.

Simmons added at the seminar at Stamford Bridge in London last week that plastic-bottle collections could add five percentage points to a councils recycling rate at no extra cost.

He said residents would be encouraged to recycle more of every material and that the reduction of plastics in the general refuse would allow for cost-saving alternate-week collections.

Further information on the seminars, which run until February 2005, can be found at www.wrap.org.uk.

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