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Swindon climbs down over plan to burn plastics

Swindon Borough Council has put on hold its plan to end the collection of plastics for recycling after being criticised by resources minister Therese Coffey.

In October, the council said it would stop recycling mixed plastics and send it to energy from waste instead, a move condemned by Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin as “confused thinking”.

Coffey said this would be “surely a regressive step” and noted that Swindon’s recycling rate had dropped nearly 12 percentage points since 2010 to 38%.

Maureen Penny, cabinet member for highways and the environment, said: “We have listened to what people told us during our engagement exercise and, during the next few months, we will be doing some more work to make sure any changes we make are the right ones for Swindon and its residents.

“Plastics are still a big problem for us and it was made clear in the responses to our engagement that residents feel the same way. I look forward to seeing what positive changes the Government will propose in its upcoming waste strategy and, in the meantime, I will be asking my officers to do further research and planning.”

A council statement said councillors would be asked to advise officers to undertake more research into alternative recycling technologies for plastic waste.

Swindon has completed consultation on its 10-year waste strategy, which it said saw strong support for the introduction of food waste collections.

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