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Recycling: Plastics

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to boost the recycling of (a) plastic films and (b) black plastics.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEFRA is supporting work by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to boost recycling of these materials.

The front of store recycling work being undertaken by WRAP has led to a significant increase in the number of stores collecting plastic film. This packaging can currently be returned for recycling at a number of major supermarket outlets, and indications are that this will be rolled out more widely.

WRAP is also working closely with representatives from across the plastics supply chain to promote the recycling of film and will provide guidance for local authorities that wish to improve their film collections shortly. The British Plastics Federation Recycling Group is also looking at promoting film recycling.

Conventional black plastics packaging cannot be sorted by plastics recyclers due to the nature of the carbon pigment. WRAP has undertaken trials using other pigment which looks black to the eye, but can be used by plastic sorters and re-processors, and is acceptable by brands and retailers. WRAP is also due to publish work which has been examining the end market opportunities that could be available for this material. Once this is published, WRAP will be working with the plastics packaging supply chain to get this initiative adopted.

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