The biggest change to plastics recycling in Somerset in almost a decade is underway at the county’s 16 recycling sites.
Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has announced that every recycling site is now taking plastic food pots, tubs and trays – the rigid plastic containers for yoghurt, margarine, fruit and other foods – as well as all plastic bottles.
It is a leap forward in the planned transformation of Somerset waste services from 2020, including the end of landfilling rubbish and phased roll out of the new “Recycle More” weekly kerbside collections taking extra bulky but light plastics, with three-weekly collections of the far emptier refuse bins.
The move to take rigid plastic food pots, tubs and trays, known as PTT, at all 16 recycling sites follows successful trials of taking extra plastics in kerbside collections and at a small number of sites to check the quality and monitor levels of contamination from unwanted materials.
The plastic bottle and PTT skips will take black plastic food trays, but residents must:
- Remove all foil, film covers, and cardboard attached to or enclosing the PTT
- Discard all lids, flip-caps and trigger-tops from plastic bottles
- Rinse out food residues or other contents, and squash items to fit more in each skip
They must also exclude:
- Thin plastics, such as cling film, carrier bags, black sacks, or bubble wrap
- Plastic plant or paint pots, with or without any contents
- Other plastics, such as plastic toys, CD cases, garden furniture or car parts
Residents who do not already regularly use recycling sites are reminded that they are all far less busy early on weekdays, while 11 sites stay open to 19:00 on late-night Mondays.
Earlier this year, 12 of Somerset’s 16 recycling sites began taking single use coffee cups, with their layers of plastic and card, in the same skips that already take beverage cartons, such as Tetra Pak and other brands.
And SWP is launching a Schools Against Waste programme across 90 primary schools, promoting free water refills in local food outlets, and launching a plastics pledge card with simple tips and information.
A SWP spokesman said:
“Taking plastic food pots, tubs and trays at all recycling sites is a big step forward. We are working with councils, companies, campaigning groups and schools to help people cut their waste by using less plastic and recycling far more of the plastic they buy when shopping.”
Details of all recycling sites, including opening hours and what materials each site takes, can be found by visiting https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycling/centres/.