Plastics FAQs

Why can I now put bottle tops in my kerbside recycling bin?

Over the years polymer types of plastic bottle tops have changed, discussions with our re-processors have taken place and they have confirmed that they can now handle the volume of bottle tops for onward recycling.  This means that we are now capture them for recycling at the kerbside.

Do I put bottle tops in the kerbside bin separate to the bottle?

No, please wash, squash and put the bottle top back on the plastic bottle before placing it in your kerbside recycling bin. If they are placed in the bin separately they may not be captured for recycling as they will slip through the sorting machinery at the Mansfield Materials Recovery Facility.

Can I put my trigger spray or pump action bottle tops in the kerbside bin now?

No, please remove trigger spray or pump action (e.g. soap on soap) bottle tops and dispose of them in the general waste bin as these are still not accepted in the kerbside recycling bin.

Plastic drinks bottle tops, sauce bottle tops, toiletry bottle tops and cleaning bottle tops, including flip tops are all now accepted.  Please just wash, squash and place the top back on before popping in the recycling bin.

My leaflet/calendar says to remove all bottle tops – but now you say I can recycle them - which advice is correct?

Some of the leaflets and literature may still have old instructions to remove all bottle tops on. We will be reviewing communications material and updating as necessary – but as you can appreciate it would not be sustainable to reprint all literature, so these will be reprinted with new instructions as and when required.

What plastic codes should go in my recycling bin?

Plastic codes are placed on items by packaging manufacturers, but not necessarily for recycling purposes. In Nottinghamshire to make it easy for everyone to recycle we ask for ‘items’ rather than plastic codes. All plastic bottles can go into the recycling bin, along with margarine tubs and yoghurt pots regardless of the code printed on the item. 

It’s not just the plastic code that determines whether something is recycled in Nottinghamshire. It is a mix of the polymer type, shape and size of items.

Other councils collect a wider range of plastics for recycling – why doesn’t Nottinghamshire do this?

In Nottinghamshire we only collect items that we know we can recycle. The Materials Recovery Facility in Mansfield was designed to sort paper, cardboard, aerosols, cans, tins, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and plastic bottles, as these recyclables have sustainable and economically viable end destinations where they get reused or recycled.

If I put a plastic item (not a plastic bottle, margarine tub or yoghurt pot) in my recycling bin – what happens to it?

Every item that goes into the recycling bin that is incorrect could cause the whole load of good recycling to be rejected once it arrives at the sorting facility. The incorrect items of plastic get rejected once they arrive and are disposed of as general waste. They do not get recycled.

What happens to the plastic bottles collected at the MRF?

Mixed plastic bottles go to a UK processing facility where they sorted into polymer type, milk bottles for example are then chipped and turned back into food grade plastics – becoming new plastic bottles.

Why can’t I recycle plastic food trays in Nottinghamshire?

The companies which re-process the plastic are keen to take high quality plastics like plastic bottles, but there is very little demand for lower quality plastics like food trays or cling film. Some manufacturers are now starting to trial different types of plastic container which may make them easier to recycle in the future.

It’s not just the plastic code that determines whether something is recycled in Nottinghamshire. It is a mix of the polymer type, shape and size of items.

Can I put carrier bags / black bin bags in my recycling bin to be recycled?

No, never put a carrier bag or bin liner in your recycling bin.

We are currently unable to recycle plastic films which include carrier bags as they are low grade plastics and often get tangled around the sorting machinery causing problems. Please reuse them where possible – or place in your general waste bin.

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