The postcode lottery of plastic recycling

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Victoria Lampard

The type of plastic that’s collected from the kerbside continues to vary across the East leading to confusion and frustration amongst residents.

It’s a simpler system across Norfolk and Suffolk where all district councils are recycling plastic bottles, pots, tubs and food trays but Essex varies considerably.

The types of plastic can vary according depending on the postcode. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Tendring District Council will only collect plastic bottles from the kerbside and Alison Clarke in Great Bentley in Essex says the service isn’t good enough.

Tendring District Council currently only takes plastic bottles from the kerbside Credit: ITV News Anglia
Councils offer different services for recycling. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A label may suggest an item is widely recycled, but whether it actually will be, depends on where you live.

Councils employ many different companies to collect and sort their plastics leading to different recycling schemes in different areas.

In Chelmsford the list of plastic items that will be collected from homes is much longer, including rigid packaging, cling film and carrier bags.

The inconsistency is down to councils weighing up what is financially viable in the face of ongoing budget cuts.

For Tendring, that means currently only recycling plastic bottles which have a higher market value.

Recycling teams in Essex Credit: ITV News Anglia

The government is looking at amending legislation which would require all councils in England to recycle at least plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays from 2023.

The government wants plastic packaging producers to contribute more to the cost of dealing with their waste. It’s hoped the financial burden will encourage producers of packaging to use less plastic in the first place.

  • ITV News Anglia spoke to John Fuller, Chair of the District Councils Network to ask him about the disparity between councils with recycling.