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On the back of the BBC’s War on Plastics programme, a number of you have asked about what happens to the plastics we recycle in Dudley.

So we want to explain exactly what happens to the plastics you pop in your recycling bag and why we ask residents to separate their recyclables.

Unlike authorities who choose to comingle their recycling (mixing different types of recyclable waste into one large bin), Dudley asks you to separate your recycling at the kerbside. This makes it a far more valuable resource for recycling as we avoid many of the common disadvantages of comingling, such as high levels of contamination, which often results in materials being rejected at processing plants.

With your help to separate the waste, we know the materials we collect from you can be recycled and fully processed. You are helping us achieve greater results and most importantly contributing to a better standard of recycled materials which can only benefit the environment.

In terms of plastic, we are able to collect a mixture of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) such as soft drink bottles, vegetable oil bottles and so on and HDPE (high density polyethylene) such as milk bottles, cleansing product bottles.  The plastics are all taken to our Blowers Green depot, where they are collected by contractors for reprocessing.

In 2018/19 all HDPE plastics are reprocessed within the UK and 89 percent of the PET plastics we recycle are reprocessed in the UK, with the remaining 11 percent going to Turkey, Germany or Holland for reprocessing.

We would love for all of our PET plastics to be reprocessed in this country, but at the moment the infrastructure isn’t here – there just aren’t enough recycling plants to meet the demand. The good news on that front is the government has recently announced two new grants to fund capital infrastructure projects in England, which aim to help drive the recycling of plastic packaging and textiles.

We hope this gives you a better understanding of why we do what we do in Dudley.

12 top tips to reduce single use plastics

The Government and businesses have a responsibility to take action but what can you do to cut down on your own use of single use plastics? Here are our 12 top tips to reducing single use plastics:

  1. Use a refillable water bottle - carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money too! Find your nearest local refill station here -

  2. Use a reusable coffee cup – rather than takeaway ones, which often contain plastic, use a reusable cup. Some coffee shops or cafes may even offer a small discount if you use your own cup.

  3. Don’t use plastic straws - next time you order a drink, think about whether you need a straw – and if you don’t, just say no!. Alternatively ask for a paper straw.

  4. Take a reusable bag when shopping - since the plastic bag charge was introduced there has been a massive 85% drop in their use, but we can still do better.  Many of us are now used to carrying an extra bag with us but if you still find it hard to remember, try a foldaway one that you can carry in your normal day bag.

  5. Avoid excessive food packaging - we can all try and cut down on the food we buy with excessive plastic packaging. Why not consider using farmers markets and take your own bags and containers along. They are a great way to buy fresh, local produce without plastic.

  6. Use your own cutlery or sustainable alternatives – whilst out and about we’ve often bought a salad or a yogurt but the only cutlery on offer is plastic! Whilst it’s hard to plan for every opportunity, why not consider carrying a spoon or fork (or spork!) in your bag or keeping cutlery in your desk at work.

  7. Bring back the milkman - Consider getting your milk delivered in glass bottles which are reused and recycled instead of your usual plastic pint. Many milk rounds also offer fruit juices too. Join the 4% of the British population who still get their milk delivered!

  8. Ditch the cling film for foil - Unlike cling film that cannot be recycled, foil is recyclable. So if you are using foil, make sure you put it in the recycling bin after use! Another alternative is the new Beeswax Wraps. Made using 100% cotton, Pine Resin, Jojoba Oil and local Beeswax, they are 100% natural and environmentally friendly. This means no nasties will leach into your food whilst it’s stored, they’re reusable and compostable. Plus, they come in fun patterns!

  9. Zero waste shops – there are now zero-waste shops offering food that is free from packaging – usually dry goods like pasta, rice and other grains, pulses, flour, coffee, spices, oats and other cereals. You simply take your own containers and weigh out what you need. They also tend to offer a variety of other household products such as toilet roll packaged in paper, beauty and hygiene products in glass jars, and refills for cleaners and detergents.

  10. Teabags - Use loose leaf tea with a tea strainer instead of teabags that are sealed with plastic. Disposing of teabags ultimately leads to micro plastics entering our waterways and eventually our food chain. Give plastic free tea a go or use biodegradable teabags now available in supermarkets.

  11. Become a wine sommelier - what’s more satisfying, popping a cork or the modern screw top? Choose wine bottles with natural cork stoppers instead of plastic stoppers or metal screw caps (which contain BPA, an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics). Visit to explore the range of wines using cork stoppers.

  12. Single- use condiments – when eating out we all love ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard with our meals. Instead of asking for single-use condiments ask for a bottle or jar.

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