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What plastic can be recycled?

Why are all plastics not included in our recycling bin?

There are more than 60 different types of plastic in circulation and all have different properties according to their uses. Some are designed for high pressure (fizzy drinks bottles) and some are designed for rigidity (food containers). 

The Materials Recycling Facility accepts just plastic bottles which are mostly made from three types of plastic:

  • PET (clear and blue e.g. squash bottles)
  • HDPE (cream colour e.g. milk bottles)
  • PP (many mixed types e.g. shampoo bottles)

There is a high demand for these types of plastic from companies that reprocess bottles to make new plastic products.

Putting the wrong type of plastic in your recycling bin may mean the load is rejected and could cause damage to the sorting process. We don't collect other types of plastics as there is usually a higher value in the plastics that bottles are made of and the MRF was designed to accept plastic bottles only for recycling.

Why do we not include bottle lids, yoghurt pots and plastic bags?

Bottle lids, yoghurt pots and plastic bags are all made from different kinds of plastic from the plastic in plastic bottles.  These will all contaminate Norfolk's recycling stream.

Yoghurt pots are made from another type of plastic called polystyrene and there are limited outlets for this material.

Due to the contamination effect of the printing ink on plastic carrier bags, the material can only be used for low grade and dark colour applications, such as bin liners.  Many supermarkets accept plastic bags for recycling, or you could try using reusable bags.  

 Where do the plastic bottles go to and what happens to them?

The three types of plastic bottle PET, HDPE and PP are sorted at the Materials Recycling Facility .They are then baled up and sold to companies where they are processed by  bottle recycling machines into new products. Products made from plastic bottles range from plastic garden furniture and bins to fleece jumpers and brand new bottles.

You can recycle all plastic bottles including:

  • Plastic Milk bottles
  • Plastic Drinks bottles
  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles
  • Detergent / Washing liquid bottles
  • Fabric softener bottles
  • Shower gel bottles
  • Bubble bath bottles
  • Bleach and other household cleaners