- Options for reuse, repair, recycling and disposal
In Oxford you are able to recycle several different types of plastic packaging in your blue bin or clear sack.
Yes please - put the following plastic items in your blue bin or clear sack:
- Bottles - drinks - put the lid back on before recycling if possible
- Bottles - kitchen and bathroom products - trigger sprays should be left on and hand pumps should be removed before recycling if possible
- Bottles - milk - put the lid back on before recycling if possible
- Carrier bags - must be empty
- Pots - including yoghurt pots and plant pots
- Plastic films - stretchy - including cling film, bubble wrap, carrier bags and plastic envelopes
- Trays - including black plastic - plastic film should be removed before recycling if possible
- Tubs - including margarine tubs, ice cream tubs and medicine tubs
No thanks - put the following plastic items in your green bin or lilac sack:
- Cereal packets
- Coffee machine pods
- Crisp packets
- Hard, rigid plastic - including: washing up bowls, CD and DVD cases, toys and disposable razors
- Plastic films - crinkly - including salad bags and cereal packets
- Salad bags
- Sweets, biscuits and other confectionary wrappings
Plastic films and wraps
To help you determine whether or not to recycle a plastic film in your blue bin or clear sack, perform the following tests on the item.
The Stretch Test - Simply stretch the piece of plastic film. If the plastic stretches (for example, cling film) it can be recycled. If the plastic tears (for example, some fruit packaging) it cannot be recycled.
The Scrunch Test - Simply scrunch the piece of plastic film in your fist. When you release your grip, if the plastic stays scrunched (for example, cling film) it can be recycled. If the plastic bounces back to its original shape (for example, some fruit packaging) it cannot be recycled.
Symbols and codes
Many plastic products and packaging items carry codes and symbols. Our best advice is to ignore the codes and symbols on products, as they can often be misleading, and instead follow the lists and tests above.
- Where does it end up?
Our waste contactor, Viridor, sends Oxford’s recycling through Crayford Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for its initial sortation before the recovered resources go to be reprocessed into new materials.
Crayford MRF removes HDPE natural (Milk Bottles plastic) and PET Clear (Water Bottle plastic). These are sent to Viridor Skelmersdale Polymer Plant where they are hot-washed and deodorised before being ‘pelletised’ or ‘flaked’ – becoming the new resources for future plastic commodity use.
The other plastics and polymers that are removed at Crayford MRF are taken to the Viridor Rochester Plastic Recovery Facility where they are sorted into individual polymer streams. These materials will be the coloured bottles and containers from households and include all the food grade pots, tubs and trays such as meat trays, yoghurt pots, shampoo bottles and bleach bottles. Once separated, these resources are reprocessed by Viridor or sold to other reprocessors turning them back into raw materials for use in industry.
Most of the plastic that goes into your blue bin or sack will be recycled in the UK. Some plastics are sent overseas but where any material is sent abroad Viridor only works with Environment Agency accredited and licensed facilities. The material is sold as an 'end-of-waste product', which means it is to be reprocessed and reused in manufacturing as a recyclable material.
Viridor recently announced a further step to ensure all plastics we capture from recycling collections will be reprocessed in the UK. A £65m facility currently under construction in Avonmouth near Bristol will ensure Viridor has no need to export any plastics from the close of 2020 and will be supporting the UK Circular Economy.