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Closing the loop on Plastic Recycling

Posted in Recycling
On 20 Jul 2017
By Jas Bagri

Over the last five years there has been an increase in plastic recycling rates. Factors such as more frequent mixed plastic recycling collections as well as retailers cutting back on their plastic packaging have made a huge difference.

However, there is still lots we can do to ensure plastic recycling stays on the up.

Overall plastic production is estimated to have reached nearly 3.7 million tonnes per annum. Packaging is the main source of this figure accounting for approximately 2.2 million tonnes – a staggering 59%.

The European Commission’s Circular Economy package has a target of: “55% of all plastic packaging waste to be prepared for reuse or recycling by 2025”.

The grocery industry accounts for almost 1 million tonnes of plastic production. Changes in recent law to tackle this, have seen the implementation of the carrier bag charge. In 2014, 9 billion carrier bags weighing nearly 69,000 tonnes were used by consumers.

Since the law changed in October 2015 for all large retailers to charge 5p for all single use carrier bags, there has been a fall in demand by 80%!

Closed Loop recycling

Sustainability has become a common business goal. Intelligent resource management means closing the recycling loop, so that materials can be preserved within a circular economy.

So what is Closed Loop recycling? It’s a production process in which post-consumer waste is collected, recycled and used to make new products. This process can include weaving reclaimed plastic bottles into polyester for clothing and other products.

For this process to work, consumers, recyclers and manufacturers must work together to reclaim valuable materials from our waste stream and use them to make new products.

Why should we recycle our plastics?

Did you know recycling one ton of plastic can save 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space? If we recycle plastics we can keep them out of landfills and reuse them when manufacturing new products. We can also help conserve natural resources such as Oil when recycling plastic water bottles.

How does Biffa contribute?

Did you know 80% of milk bottles in circulation in the UK contain Biffa recycled plastics? And on average 50 million milk bottles are produced using plastic from Biffa polymers every week?

We help our customers ensure their plastics recycling is diverted from landfill and upgraded. We have two super mixed recycling facilities in the UK which process 400,000 combined tonnes of dry mixed recyclable waste every day.

Biffa are helping to minimise the impact of consumer use vs damaging the environment. Please watch our video below to find out more detail on how we recycle plastics.

About the author

image of jas bagri

Jas Bagri

Jas is part of Biffa’s digital team, writing a diverse range of content on a number on industry topics. Jas’s favourite subject to write about is recycling, so look out for her handy tips coming your way!