Plastic Challenge 2017
July 19, 2017 – 11:17 am | 4 Comments

What is the challenge?
June 2017 was officially the Marine Conservation Society’s  ‘Plastic Challenge’ month.
This is the third year of the challenge, which encourages people to pledge to cut down the amount of single-use plastics they …

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Lets get the UK recycling – Support our Campaign

Submitted by on May 27, 2010 – 5:00 pm25 Comments

There is a growing body of evidence that shows how woefully behind the rest of Europe the UK is when it comes to limiting and recycling its waste.

 When Suma recently specified a revolutionary recycled and recyclable PET film for its packaging, contact with various waste handling operations revealed they were unwilling to accept the film for recycling mainly on the grounds of its being expensive to handle. This prompted us to advise our customers to push waste PET packaging into their waste PET bottles and then recycle them. However, it also alerted us to the shockingly inadequate recycling infrastructure we have in this country at the moment. That, in turn, prompted us to kick-start a campaign to see if we can improve the situation. Why curse the dark when you can light a candle, after all?

Suma prepacks in recylced pet packaging

Suma prepacks in recylced pet packaging

Copy this and send it / email it directly to your local authority department responsible for rubbish, waste and recycling  and copy to: (You may need to search your councils website for the right email address to send it to)
If you’ve taken part in this campaign, please let us know you’ve participated by leaving a comment on this post, we’ll then be able to judge how successful the campaign has been!


To whom it may concern,

 We feel that the UK is seriously lagging behind in the effort  to increase the amount of waste we, as a nation, divert from landfill into recycling.

 In particular, the amount of plastic waste generated annually in the UK is estimated to be in excess of  3 million tonnes, of which approximately 56% starts its life as packaging.

 In 2006, the UK Government published national packaging recycling and recovery targets requiring 25.5% recovery of plastics waste by 2010.

Although facilities exist for easy-to-collect, profitable-to-process PET containers, other plastic packaging, including recycled PET film, is rejected.

The wholly unimpressive result of this lamentable state of affairs is that less than 10% of total plastic waste arisings are currently being recycled: plastic consigned to landfill can take 500 years to decompose.

We demand that government at both local and national level:

  • put pressure on packaging manufacturers to use recycled and recyclable materials
  • increase investment in appropriate recycling facilities
  • incentivise the wider use of recycled plastics
  • meet and then exceed its stated targets for recycling.

Yours faithfully,

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  • admin says:

    I have sent the letter to Leeds City Council, will be interested to read their response.

  • Nick says:

    I have sent the letter to Kirklees Council who are usually very green having Green Party members on the council. Kirklees facilities for collecting recyclable materials are very good – I have no idea what they do with the stuff they collect though because they have no plastic recycling plant.

  • Hi Amy.
    I will send the letter to British Waterways being our “local authority”. To date their track record of recycling plus their total disregard for establishing any sort of uniform strategic environmental policy is, to say the least, distressingly incompetent given their legal and social responsibilties.

  • Rory says:

    I’ve sent it to Bradford council. They’re trialling a kerbside PET bottle collection in Bingley. The rest of us have to take them to the local tip where there’s a plastic bottle skip.

  • Rory says:

    p.s. I didn’t copy it to the lga as I used the council web contact form.

  • Anja says:

    Sent to South Kesteven District Council in Lincolnshire.

    Thanks Suma…love your work!

  • Emma says:

    I won’t be emailing North Somerset as we are in the middle of a recycling revolution here!
    I happen to know the very hardworking team at Waste Management as I’ve worked with them on washable nappy campaigns. They work extremely hard and put up with a lot of abuse from residents who cannot see the good in all the changes. There’s no way I would add to their current workload by pointing out what more they could do when they are already doing so much. Of course there is always more to do, but I think the letter can wait for another month!

  • Pete says:

    See Nick, Kirklees seem very good but what do they do with it all?

  • Naomi says:

    Done for Craven District Council. I have just moved to the area and the nearest communal recycling bins seem to be four miles away! Although they do take grades 1, 2, 5 and 6, i.e. including the likes of yoghurt pots.

  • alex stappard says:

    done to kirklees –

  • Gemma says:

    Sent to Ipswich Borough Council

  • Rory says:

    I had a nice phone call response from Bradford. They did say however DO NOT put plastic film wrappers inside bottles to recycle them as it causes major problems getting caught in the machinery.

  • Sue Halfyard says:

    Have sent the letter to Cornwall County Council.

  • Richard Molyneux says:

    I’ve emailed Mole Valley District Council, will update if they reply.

    Rory’s comment of – “They did say however DO NOT put plastic film wrappers inside bottles to recycle them as it causes major problems getting caught in the machinery.” – is a bit disconcerting…

  • Katharine Scott says:

    Sent to Calderdale Council……..

  • Gabriela Lerner says:

    I had already emailed the Waste Department of Wiltshire Council before I found this campaign. I had complained that the recycling bins are only allowed to have drinks and milk bottles and that they refuse and other PET 1 or 2 plastics, even though they are the same material as milk bottles (eg. Rachel’s organic yoghurt pots). The reply was less than satisfactory blaming both the public for not being smart enough to differentiate between plastics; the packaging, for not being labelled clearly enough; and the plastic recycling market, for being volatile.

    We continue to put all PET 1&2 plastics into our recycling bin, and it is being collected, but whether they consider it ‘contaminated’ and discard it or recycle it, I don’t know. Any plastic above 1 or 2 is not being recycled or collected at all.

    I will now email them again with a version of your suggested content above.
    However, I feel equally important is to push towards less use of plastic all together. There is still far too much packaging used where it’s completely unnecessary.

  • Pat says:

    I think you are going about this completely the wrong way. Why are you asking LAs to campaign – their hands are tied as much as anyone else’s. They just collect the material and have to try and send it somewhere. YOU as a manufacturer should be working with reprocessors and local authorities to ensure your packaging is recyclable. Members of the public should campaign with retailers if there is an aspect of the packaging they do not like. The likes of the big supermarkets are not going to listen to a local authority, they are going to listen to the customers who put money in their pockets! By all means complain to national Government, who set the legislation, but your local authority cannot force someone to start recycling plastics nor provide funding for them to do so!

  • Anna says:

    This is absolutely the RIGHT way. A company using PET is to be applauded. I hope SUMA, Rachel’s Organic and any other companies using PET can get together and make a louder voice. Yes, companies should be pushing local authorities but so too should the public.In my area, I wrote to Hampshire and they weren’t interested becuase they clain to need all the plastic they can get for their incinerators.

    I also wrote to major yogurt companies like Muller, and didn’y even get a reply. They need pushing too.

    Let’s reinvigorate this campaign.

  • m leadley says:

    Sent to Ryedale district council

  • Just sent it to Carmarthenshire County Council

  • julian dare says:

    Where I live in Coventry everything all goes into the same bin metal card paper glass and plastic — I don’t know what happens to it.
    I think that it gets sorted on a conveyer belt with an overhead magnet and the homeless unemployed “volunteers”. I must check it out. England is crap compared to the rest of Europe .In Switzerland 60%
    is recycled. They had pet receptacle buckets in the supermarket more than 20 years ago.How do I get to sign your petition?

  • Danny says:

    Hi, if you go to the following web page you will find a letter that you can cut and paste into an email, once you have have done this just sent it to your local authority department responsible for rubbish, waste and recycling.

  • Julie Carroll says:

    Hi, I will send the Suma letter to my local council, Sefton. However, I beleive the pressure needs to come from the retailers to get suppliers to change packaging unless the multi plastic recycle plant in Redcar is available for use throughout the country and local authorities can, indeed, accept all plastics and send them there.

  • Lucy says:

    I’m afraid I won’t be sending the letter. Almost all PET/HDPE that is ‘recycled’ in the UK at the moment is actually only collected in the UK and then sent to China. All the milk bottles etc are recycled into fleece tops and the like in China. We need to understand the full lifecycle of our goods before thinking recyclable plastic is the answer.

    The thinner grade PET also cannot be recycled in this way and there is therefore little or no economic market for this. At best, certain of those plastics can be shredded and made into loft insulation but we are already generating way more than we ever need. Local authorities also make a huge loss to transport it to that market so we are paying for it to go to unsustainable ‘recyclables’ market.

    Remember that these plastics are in the majority not recycled as the same type of plastic (unlike cans, glass, paper etc). They become a lower grade and eventually cannot be recycled at all therefore are landfilled.

    Please can you consider putting at least some of your products into a non-plastic alternative so that we can reduce the amount we consume in the first place. I would happily buy rice, lentils, porridge, cous cous etc in good quality paper bags. I am not completely anti plastic but it is hugely overused we could try to limit it to essentials.

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