GOOD NEWS! Here is the latest information issued by Somerset Waste Partnership on plastics (see end of info for a suggestion):
PLASTIC BOTTLES: Put out only plastic bottles at the kerbside if you have an individual collection – no other plastics, but discard tops, rinse, squash and recycle all household plastic bottles, including those for milk, juice, shampoo, bleach and more, including trigger cleaning sprays and liquid soap dispensers.
No thanks: those from the garage (oil etc) or garden (pesticides etc) should be discarded.
Bottle tops: There are two main reasons why we ask you to discard bottle tops: first, they may be of a different plastic to the bottles or contain other materials, such as – in some trigger sprays – metal springs, thus adding contamination to the materials we want; and second, the bottle tops can both get into the sorting machinery and prevent bottles from being squashed as the machinery bales thousands of bottles together for transport elsewhere. Under great pressure, the bottles can then explode, blowing apart the bale and forcing the staff to start again, wasting both time and money.
PLASTIC POTS, TUBS, TRAYS: Drop off rigid plastic food and household pots, tubs and trays in the plastic bottle skips at any of Somerset’s 16 recycling sites when passing. Pots, tubs and trays include pots for yoghurt, soup, face cream, hair gel; tubs for margarine, ice cream, laundry tablets; trays (including black plastic) for meat, fish, ready meals, and plastic punnets for fruit or mushrooms. Please rinse, discard/recycle as appropriate all foil, film covers, absorbent pads or card packaging, squash, then add to plastic bottle skip.
Ensure you exclude: plastic paint and plant pots, seed trays; toys, garden furniture, car parts, CD-DVD-VHS cases or contents; thin film , such as clingfilm, bubble wrap, carrier bags, film covers, bread bags, multipack wraps (though some thin films, with the “film” packaging label, may be able to be added to carrier bag collections at some supermarkets).
TETRA PAKS: Drop off Tetra Paks, other beverage cartons, and single-use drink cups when passing any of 12 recycling sites (all except Castle Cary, Cheddar, Dulverton or Somerton), please rinse and squash. NB: Many liquids available in beverage cartons are also available in containers – plastic, glass, cans – that we collect in kerbside collections. And we have been told by a number of those who prefer or can only drink nut milks, such as oat, soya and almond milks, that it is easy to make exactly the amount, consistency and flavour/sweetness required using any good food processor, thus saving money, reducing waste and eliminating the existing costly and complex-to-recycle packaging.
FUTURE PLANS: The situation for plastics in Somerset will be transformed once we have a new multi-million pound collections contract in place, for which negotiations are now underway, and have designed and had built a new recycling truck fleet for those new collections. Given the required public procurement rules under which these high-value contracts must be placed, this will take time to ensure practical, sustainable and best value outcomes.
We then plan to roll out the “Recycle More” weekly kerbside collection of all existing materials plus plastic pots, tubs, trays, Tetra Paks and other beverage cartons, single-use coffee cups and perhaps other materials, from 2020. Because of the extra light but very bulky materials being collected every week, we will then also change the frequency of rubbish collections to once every three weeks. Our trials of this with hundreds of Somerset families of all sizes in all sorts of accommodation over several months showed not only a large jump in recycling and a matching drop in rubbish levels, but an 84% approval for three-weekly rubbish collections with extra weekly plastics and other materials.
For more information on plastics, see: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/act-on-plastics/
For more information on beverage cartons and single-use drink cups, see: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/dozen-recycling-sites-take-single-use-coffee-cups/
For more information on Recycle More future collections: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycle-more/
And for more on the other items we do and do not take in kerbside recycling: https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycling-collections/
IDEA: If there are any garden centres out there which recycle plant pots and seed trays please get in touch with Exmoor Magazine and we will spread the word!