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Your questions about plastic recycling answered

03 February 2020

Are you keen to learn more about plastic recycling? Our resident recycling experts answer some of our most frequently asked questions about plastic to help you discover more about this essential process. 

Why is it so important to recycle plastic?

It’s important to recycle as much plastic as possible for a number of reasons, including saving wildlife, reducing CO2 emissions, minimising landfill waste, consume less energy and have an overall benefit for the environment. For example, recycling 1 plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a light bulb for an hour!

Which plastics can be recycled?

Technically, all plastics can be recycled but because of economic and logistical factors, this, unfortunately, isn’t always possible. The most commonly recycled plastics are PET and HDPE drink bottles and milk bottles. Thanks to developments in technology, mixed batches of plastics can now be recycled via a chemical process which includes transforming it into food-grade packaging. 

What do the recycling symbols on packaging mean?

Lots of plastic packaging has little arrow symbols which indicate if it can be recycled. If the symbol is a circular arrow on a green background, it means that the plastic is almost always recyclable so you can go ahead and put it in your recycling kerbside collection bin. If the arrow is on a black background with a line through it, this means the item is not recyclable and will need to go in general waste. If the arrow on the black background doesn’t have a line through it, it means the plastic can be recycled but you will need to check with your council to see if they have the correct facility. If they do not, contact W&S Recycling to see if we are able to accept it. 

Why do councils accept different types of plastics?

Almost all councils collect plastic for recycling and then usually sell it to specialist recycling companies, such as W&S. Councils decide which plastics they collect based on whether the facility to recycle them is available as well as how much they can sell them for. 

Why does the UK export some of its plastic waste?

The UK has to export some plastic waste simply because we do not have the resources to recycle all the plastic we produce. While the aim is to be able to recycle all plastic waste in the country, for the time being there will be a mix between recycling domestically and overseas. 

How many times can plastic be recycled?

The answer to this one is simply it depends on the type of plastic, how it’s being recycled and for what purpose. Most plastics do degrade when they are recycled and so can only be reused 2 or 3 times. 


W&S Recycling is a recycling specialist based in Dorset and Oxfordshire for commercial, residential and industrial clients from around the country. To learn more about our plastic recycling facilities, contact the team today on 01202 675564

Branch Finder

Locate your nearest household waste centre and scrap yard using the list below. Unsure of where your waste needs to go? Contact our team and we'll be more than happy to help. For your local council charges visit the Oxford Council and Dorset For You websites.

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