This New Group has been formed as a result of our research investigations ‘Recycling plastics waste from food and drinks packaging’. We have learnt that local councils have different policies concerning which plastics they want to collect and in what form these should be. The main targets in Stockport are PET bottles collected in the same bin together with steel, aluminum and glass containers. However, much of our household waste comprises packaging made from at least 6 different plastics, which can be in forms such as films, bags, trays or pots.
The above variety of products challenges the waste separation processes and leads to some unsatisfactory disposal methods for single-use plastics that cannot be recycled; these include landfill, burning for energy, incineration or (perhaps the worst of all?) litter that can occur on a gross-scale and lead to pollution of rivers, seas and oceans. This subject has become a hot topic for the media, environmentalists, supermarkets and governing bodies (such as DEFRA in the UK).
The Environment Group will monitor the plastics packaging situation locally, and as part of this we visited the Greater Manchester Materials Recovery Facility at Sharston for an excellent presentation and tour of the facilities. We will also consider the wider implications of marine pollution by micro-plastics and micro-fibres. Our programme will extend in future to other environmental challenges such as causes of climate change and safety in the built-environment.