All plastic welcome as new factory set to revolutionise Scots recycling
SCOTS could be able to throw all types of plastic from yoghurt pots to food trays into the recycling bin within a year under plans revealed to The Scotsman.
Currently most councils only collect plastic milk bottles. However, this is set to change because a factory that will be able to recycle a wide variety of plastics is to be built in Scotland for the first time.
It is hoped the new plant will create a local market for plastic rubbish, which will in turn encourage councils to start collecting it rather than sending it to landfill.
All 12,500 tonnes of plastic currently collected for recycling in Scotland is dealt with overseas, mainly in Asia, or elsewhere in the UK.
However, experts say waste plastic will become a valuable resource, and Scotland must make sure it can benefit, at the same time as meeting ambitious recycling targets.
It is hoped it will help end confusion among consumers who often struggle to know which types of plastic can be recycled.
Wrap Scotland has invited bids for 5 million funding towards a mixed plastics reprocessing factory, and anticipates the winning applicant will build the facility within about a year.
A spokesman said it should pave the way for a fourfold increase the amount of plastic recycled in Scotland.
An estimated 200,000 tonnes of plastic is thrown away across the country each year – enough to fill Hampden Park.
Wrap Scotland hopes 40,000 tonnes will be recycled when the new factory is built.
Iain Gulland, director of Wrap Scotland, said: "I think this will be the start of a revolution in plastics reprocessing here in Scotland."
He said it made sense to deal with the materials as close as possible to where they are produced, instead of shipping them to Asia. In the past there has been criticism of the carbon emissions produced by transporting materials for recycling overseas.
He added: "Householders want to be able to recycle their yoghurt pots and margarine tubs in the same way as other packaging materials such as glass, plastic bottles and cans. It can be confusing, and adding more plastics to recycling collections will make it easier for everyone."
Plastic can be recycled into many types of product, from fleeces to scaffolding boards, but Mr Gulland said the ideal scenario would be for packaging to be turned back into packaging.
Wrap Scotland can fund up to 30 per cent of the final cost of the new recycling facility, meaning the finished plant is likely to cost about 15m to 20m.
A spokesman said there was a possibility two smaller plants could be built instead of one larger one, because it may only be capable of reprocessing a smaller variety of plastics.
However, he added that the ideal scenario would be that all plastics could be dealt with – including materials that are tougher to reprocess such as clingfilm and carrier bags.
The spokesman said it was hoped that once the plant was established, local authorities would start collecting all the different types of plastics because they would be confident there was demand for them.
The funding for the new recycling plant has been provided through the Scottish Government's Zero Waste Fund.
Giving your old plastic items new life is possible
01: PET: Drinks bottles, salad trays – these can be turned into drinks bottles, polyester fleeces, flooring.
02: HDPE: Milk bottles, shampoo and detergent bottles – can be turned into more milk bottles, shampoo and detergent bottles, or into bins, fencing, street or garden furniture.
03: PVC: Window and door frames, cling films, piping – can be turned into flooring, more window frames or plastic hoses.
04: LDPE: Carrier bags, bin liners, packaging films – can be turned into more bin liners or plastic sheeting.
05: PP: Margarine tubs, ready meal trays, carpets and upholstery – can be turned into buckets and pallets.
06: PS: Yoghurt pots, take-away containers, plastic cutlery, CD cases, protective packaging – can be turned into coat hangers, toys, plant pots and garden furniture.
07: Other: Car parts, electronic equipment, water cooler bottles – these can be turned into other car parts or plastic lumber.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east