Plastics FAQs

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.

What should I do with plastic bottle tops?

While some bottle tops are made from a recyclable material (the same as the plastic bottles) not all of them are. Bottle tops cause problems during sorting at the Materials Recovery Facility as they are too small for the process to sort them and will go as general waste. Removing bottle tops also ensures that bottles are empty and clean before they go into the recycling bin. Bottle tops should be placed in your general waste bin.

What should I do with trigger spray nozzles and pump dispensers?

If these can be unscrewed remove them but if they won’t come off don’t worry – as long as the bottle is clean and empty it can go into your recycling bin.

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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