Recycling Plastics

Sussex Green Living volunteers sorting the single-use plastic recycling

These Earth’s natural resources are key to our Western lives: water, air, oil, gas, coal and minerals. Perhaps we could be thinking about recycling as another resource that is about reusing these over and over again? Here are some tips as to how and where we can recycle.

First, it’s important to be aware of the wide range of plastics that can go into your Blue Bin because this is constantly being updated when new ways of collection, separation or re-using are found. It currently includes squashed plastic bottles with lightly reattached caps, all plastic tubs, tubes, trigger sprays (again with spray-tops attached) and all food trays, including black plastics.

In addition, at the Council Recycling Centres there are now skips for Hard Plastics such as toys, garden furniture, plastic coat hangers and plant pots, although, obviously, passing them on to a new user is even more efficient!

Next, the local supermarkets collect a wide range of plastics.  Each operates its own schemes with collection points outside or within the stores. You may have seen the big recycling cages at Tesco Broadbridge Heath or the much smaller black and orange bins outside Sainsbury in Horsham or new green flexible plastic bin in Waitrose. Most Co-op stores also have clearly labelled soft plastic recycling bins. Check each store or company website for what they currently recycle but the range of soft plastics is extensive and covers most of their plastic packaging and film which compliments the Council Blue Bin scheme where soft plastics cannot be placed.

Awkward plastic household items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, used pens, ink cartridges and many more products are collected in over 20 locations managed by Sussex Green Living communities. This has the extra benefit of also fundraising for our Air Ambulances. You can join the Sussex Green Living Facebook page to have your questions answered, and find the location of your nearest drop-off location.

Finally more retailers now recycle their own products, from mail back schemes such as for Gillette’s disposable razors, to bins in Boots for beauty products. The “Podback” scheme for used coffee pods covers  a wide range of brands and this collaborative scheme has recently been extended by Horsham District Council to include home pick up as a complement to their battery, textile and small broken electricals scheme.

These are just four of the easy ways to increase the volume of local plastic that is removed from our rubbish heaps. It’s a small, important local contribution we can all make.

by Rob Fryatt