Why black plastic can’t be recycled by EDDC

PUBLISHED: 17:24 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:45 18 July 2017

East Devon District Council has admitted that currently it cannot recycle black plastic. However it's continuing to collect it, 'making it easier for householders to recycle'. Picture: Paul Strange.

East Devon District Council has admitted that currently it cannot recycle black plastic. However it's continuing to collect it, 'making it easier for householders to recycle'. Picture: Paul Strange.

Archant

Although East Devon has made a ‘remarkable start’ to its new recycling service, council chiefs have admitted that currently they cannot recycle black plastic.

Instead the black plastic trays – often used for microwavable meals and meat – go to landfill or are incinerated.

But East Devon District Council (EDDC) says it will continue to collect black plastic from residents, ‘thereby making it easier for householders to recycle’, although it ‘cannot guarantee it will be recycled’.

The problem of recycling black plastic packaging is not just in East Devon, but an issue across the UK.

The material is made from the polymer CPET (crystallised polyethylene terephthalate).

A pigment – carbon black – used to colour black plastic, is not detectable to infra-red optical sorting equipment. Light cannot pass through the plastic, so UK recycling plants cannot identify and divert black plastic for recycling.

Consequently the majority of black plastic ends up being treated as residual waste. The problem first came to light earlier this year in a report on BBC TV’s The One Show and in the national press.

EDDC says that an estimated 30,000 tonnes of black plastic packaging is disposed of annually across the UK - and ‘this figure is expected to increase. Currently, this represents an estimated six per cent of the total volume of plastics presented by households in the UK for recycling - some 492,623 tonnes in 2015.

“We are continuing to collect black plastic as much as possible, thereby making it easier for householders to recycle, as it can be put out in the recycling sack,” said an EDDC spokesperson. “However, we cannot guarantee it will be recycled, as it is a challenge for reprocessors to deal with.

“We will continue to monitor the levels produced and will review the situation periodically.

“To improve this, the recycling industry is lobbying food manufacturers and retailers to cease the use of black plastics as a packaging material. At the same time recycling processors are seeking ways of separating black plastics from the recycling stream to improve the quantities that are recycled.”

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 17:30

Sporting heroes from around the Exmouth area have been recognised for their community spirit.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:35

Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing for people to look out for nine-year-old Oliver Campbell.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:39

Beautiful Days Festival revellers pulled out all the stops, with a host of colourful and creative costumes, dressing as pirates, mermaids, sailors, fish and crustaceans and a host of seaside treasures, embracing the festival’s 2017 Rock the Boat theme.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:06

Lifeboat crews from Exmouth and Sidmouth launched on Saturday (August 19) to rescue an 18-foot speedboat.

Read more
Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Budleigh Salterton Summer Flower and Produce Show was held on Saturday at the Public Hall.

Read more
Sunday, August 20, 2017

A 10-year-old Budleigh girl says she is ‘shocked, proud, excited and happy’ to have had her logo design selected by a local GP practice.

Read more
Sunday, August 20, 2017

A tireless fundraiser has called on Exmouth Town Council to provide more life-saving defibrillators around the town.

Read more
Sunday, August 20, 2017

These photos show the spectacular view from the top of Exmouth’s newest tourist attraction.

Read more
Sunday, August 20, 2017

Traders and businesses who helped fund extra vital lifesaving equipment in Budleigh Salterton – increasing the number of public-use defibrillators to three – have thanked all who contributed.

Read more
Sunday, August 20, 2017

A quiz night held in Exmouth has raised £180 for the Open Door Centre.

Read more

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 15°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications