Residents told to keep throwing most plastic away despite green drive
Wednesday 10th April 2019 @ 11:04 by Lauren Entwistle

By Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter.

People in Greater Manchester will have to continue throwing away most of their plastic because bosses say there isn’t a market to recycle more.

Currently only plastic bottles can be recycled in the region, with all other types of plastic will have to be burnt as general waste.

A raft of green environmental plans have been unveiled by leaders at the second Green Summit last week, where they outlined aims to become carbon neutral within two decades.

But everyone in Greater Manchester – except people who live in Wigan – will still have to continue throwing away most of their plastic, although much of it is marked as recyclable.

This includes yoghurt pots, margarine and ice cream tubs, and plastic packaging trays.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he was a ‘bit shocked’ how much plastic could not be taken for recycling.

He said: “We need to work with our suppliers to be able to take more for recycling and that’s the direction that all of our councils want to go.

“And it’s a case of making sure the capability is there.

“But as well putting more pressure on the supermarkets and industry because I think they are over-packaging at times.

“I think supermarkets need to send a different message to their suppliers and say don’t use these pots, these containers that can’t be properly recycled.”

He added: “There’s a discussion underway about how we do take more for recycling.

“We definitely want to move in that direction, it’s just obviously within a contract that we have – how do you make that change.

“But we are talking to the suppliers about that.”

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has recently agreed to switch its waste contractor from Viridor to Suez.

But a spokesperson for the GMCA waste and resources team said that there would be no change to the type of plastics they can recycle.

“The ability to recycle all types of plastics including yoghurt pots is not related to which contractor we use, it’s down to whether there is a sustainable market for different types of plastics and currently there isn’t,” they said.

“There are no changes planned to what we can collect in the household bins, we will continue to collect plastic bottles and other types of plastic will still go in the general waste bin.

“The new contracts will operate for seven years with an optional extension of three years.

“If the market for plastic packaging changes during that time, then we will review our recycling policy accordingly.”

If you were living in a different part of the country, you could be able to recycle more as each council collects its plastic recycling differently.

Neighbouring Wigan, which as a unitary authority deals with its own waste, does allow residents to recycle yoghurt pots and plastic tubs.

In Cambridge, people can also recycle plastic pots, tubs and trays, and plastic bags and film on top of the normal bottles.

The recycling postcode lottery can confuse people as some things are labelled as recyclable and technically they are – but in reality this only happens in some parts of the country.