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Caring for the environment

Recycling plastic

Which plastics can be recycled?

Far more plastics can be recycled than you might think – in fact, nearly all types are recyclable. However, some are much more difficult to recycle from a technical, economic and/or environmental point of view than others.

Read on to find out how plastics are sorted and recycled.

How are plastics recycled?

They are sorted first by polymer type and cleaned, then they are shredded or melted. The flakes or pellets are processed into new products.

We’ve listed the seven different types of plastic below, with an indication of how easy or difficult they are to recycle, what they are used for and recycled into.
Which plastics can be recycled

1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

  • Easy to recycle
  • Used for water, soft drinks and mouthwash bottles, as well as food packaging, such as tubs, pots and jam jars
  • Recycled into more PET products, including bottles and food containers, panelling, furniture and carpets

2 HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

  • Easy to recycle
  • Used for milk jugs and juice bottles, plastic bottle caps, jerricans, cleaning products (bleach, detergent, etc.), yoghurt pots, ice cream tubs and soap dispensers
  • Recycled into more milk jugs, garden furniture, pipes, shampoo bottles, pens, fencing, floor tiles, etc.

3 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

  • Difficult to recycle
  • Used for shampoo and cooking oil bottles, pipe fittings, hoses, windows, thermal insulation, cling film, bank cards and car parts
  • Recycled into more PVC products, including panelling, flooring, cables, mudguards and mats

4 LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)

  • Somewhat difficult to recycle
  • Used for food and shopping bags, squeezable bottles, magazine wrapping, etc.
  • Recycled into bin liners, plastic furniture, panelling and floor tiles

5 PP (Polypropylene)

  • Easy to recycle
  • Used for margarine tubs, microwave meal trays, syrup and medicine bottles, straws, caps, picnic ware, vehicle upholstery, etc.
  • Recycled into clothing fibres, brushes, car battery cases, ice scrapers, trays, etc.

6 PS (Polystyrene)

  • Difficult to recycle
  • Used for disposable plates and cups, takeaway boxes, plastic cutlery, protective packaging and insulation
  • Recycled into insulation, foam packing, etc.

7 Other

  • Very difficult to recycle
  • Used for salad bags, crisp packets, sunglasses, DVDs, computer cases, etc.
  • Hardly ever recycled, meaning it goes to landfill.

Not all plastic products are labelled. Therefore, it is tricky to identify which bin they should go in. But don’t worry! We sort through all the waste at our depot, so it can be recycled – and we’re pleased to say that we find a second life for nearly all the waste we collect.
Back to recycling services.