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Minister weighs in over Swindon plastics recycling row

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Resources minister Therese Coffey has urged Swindon BC to rethink its plan to stop collecting plastic for recycling, LGC’s sister title Materials Recycling World reports.

In a letter she noted that Swindon’s recycling rate has dropped nearly 12 percentage points since 2010 to 38%, and said this was why she found “the news that Swindon Borough Council proposes to drop plastic collections for recycling concerning”.

She said it was “surely a regressive step”.

Last month, Swindon said it was proposing to stop recycling mixed plastics and send it to energy from waste instead, a move condemned by Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin as “confused thinking”.

Maureen Penny (Con), Swindon’s cabinet member for highways and the environment, told the Swindon Advertiser that “no decisions” on how plastic waste is dealt with had been taken and added “our wider strategy on how we deal with all our waste will be considered at next month’s cabinet meeting.”

The plastic problem has also affected Basingstoke & Deane BC, whose cabinet member for regulatory services and environment Hayley Eachus (Con) said the fall in the market for recycling mixed plastics made it unviable to provide mixed plastic bring banks to sell on the material for recycling.

Cllr Eachus said: “This is a national issue affecting local authorities around the country.

“It is important that the items we collect at banks are being recycled or, if this is not possible, then the most efficient and environmentally friendly method of disposal used.”

Basingstoke closed its plastic recycling banks in mid-October and is working with Hampshire CC to seek markets for the material.

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