Polystyrene recycled in North Devon for first time

Polystyrene blocks on display at the SWM Recycling depot in Barnstaple

Polystyrene can now be recycled in North Devon for the first time - after a depot invested in some new machinery.

It is believed SWM Recycling in Barnstaple became the first facility in the region to offer the service when it launched over Christmas.

With polystyrene not currently recycled by either North Devon Council or Torridge District Council, the scheme proved popular over the festive season with residents and businesses who live nearby.

Phil Akers, of SWM Recycling, said: “We do a lot of dry recycling, mainly cardboards and plastics - polystyrene being one of those plastics now, which we look forward to working with.

The issue of recyclable packaging has been brought into sharp focus after high-profile television programmes on the subject were aired earlier this year, including ITV’s Plastic: Can You Live Without It?

Andy Clee, of Plastic-Free Devon, said he hopes the new scheme will encourage recycling centres in other parts of the West Country to invest in the technology.

“With so many of these issues that we are facing in terms of what we do with our waste or resource, the solutions are there - we just need the imagination, the will and the investment to make it happen,” he said.

“You know, we have got this machine here in North Devon. There is no excuse now for every piece of packaging like this in our part of the world to go into a recycling facility and be reused.”