Eco Tip – Recycling Plastic Films

by Tricia Marcouse

A NEW SCHEME aims to recycle most of the plastic bags, film, and pouches that are NOT accepted by the door-to-door recycling system, and to process these materials for reuse within the UK. This includes the bags for bread, vegetables, frozen food or dry goods, crinkly foil/plastic bags for crisps and coffee; pet food and baby food pouches, plastic magazine covers and a whole load more.

The scheme does not accept blister packs; biodegradable bags and wrappers; straws; disposable cutlery and any kind of foam or expanded polystyrene.

The plastic needs to be CLEAN and DRY, and adhesive labels and stickers should be removed.

It will be sorted into the different types of plastic for melting down and reuse. Please don’t stuff lots of different types into a large plastic bag and tie the top, as this makes machine sorting impossible.

Sainsbury’s have already set up collection points at Winnersh, Tilehurst, Calcot and Broad Street.

Waitrose is testing the system at their stores in the North-West to see what sorts of material, how much of each and what level of contamination is presented (just think of unwashed sachets of cat food during the summer months and shudder!). It will then revise its posters before rolling out the programme. They want to ensure that everything collected has an end market in the UK. Expect to see collection points by the end of the summer.

Finally, don’t ignore existing collections in our area. Some schools, churches and other groups already collect many of these packaging materials and other used plastic products, such as toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes, for recycling and to help raise funds. Segregating your waste into different categories for these systems provides a small but steady income for local causes. To find local collection schemes, visit