A number of councils are re-thinking their recycling policies as dealing with unwanted plastic becomes more difficult.

Until earlier this year, the UK sent a big chunk of its used plastic to China, where it was used to make items such as computers, toys and appliances.

But the Chinese banned imports of plastic waste in January, leaving local councils searching for other options.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has told residents to recycle only plastic bottles, shampoo and bleach bottles, leaving all other plastic in regular waste bins.

The council’s cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment Hayley Eachus said: “There has been a drop in the market for recycling mixed plastics making it unviable for the company providing mixed plastic bring banks in the borough to sell on the material for recycling.

“This is a national issue affecting other local authorities around the country.

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

Mr Hammond said single-use plastics were a 'scourge to our environment'
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A lot of plastic pollution ends up in the world’s oceans

She said that the borough council has closed its plastic recycling banks and is working with Hampshire County Council to “look for markets for this material”.

In Swindon, a consultation is due to close on proposals for handling waste and recycling over the next decade.

One of the ideas is that residents should no longer have plastic collected separately, instead putting it into their general waste collection.

The council said this would allow them to keep track of plastic “so there is no risk of it ending up in overseas landfill or worse”.

This is because they can process the plastic and convert it into fuel at a solid recovered fuel plant in Cheney Manor.



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The council also hopes the extra plastic going into regular waste bags will take up more space and encourage people to recycle other material properly, instead of throwing it out.

“We do not consider this a long-term solution and when plastic recycling becomes more environmentally-friendly and cost effective, we will consider reintroducing a plastic collection service.”

They said that China’s ban on plastic waste imports had meant the UK recycling industry has “had to find other countries that are able to take this waste for recycling”.

There are plans to extend the 5p levy on plastic bags to all shops
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A lot of scrap plastic ends up in Asian countries, such as China

In Southampton, the council has reportedly decided to remove its plastic recycling banks, meaning residents are unable to recycle mixed plastic such as pots, tubs and trays, which are not part of the regular kerbside collections.

The Southern Daily Echo reported that the company behind the banks is having difficulty disposing of the plastic.

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Councillor Jacqui Rayment, cabinet member for transport and public realm, told the newspaper: “The plastic banks will be removed for the time being and we will continue to use the most efficient and environmentally friendly method of disposal for the plastics that can’t go in to kerbside recycling bins.”

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