Plastic Recycling

We have recycled over 100,000 tonnes of plastic, cardboard, paper and various other materials for businesses across the UK.
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how Much Plastic Is Recycled?

Today, almost all types of plastic can be recycled. From LDPE to HDPE, PVC to PET, various forms of plastic waste can be repurposed effectively. However, despite developing advancements and recycling technologies, we recycle just 45% of plastics in the UK. 

How Is Plastic Recycled?

There are two main types of plastic recycling methods:

Mechanical Recycling

Most commonly used, mechanical recycling involves the following steps: Sorting, shredding, washing, drying, melting, and repurposing. The flakes and granules ground from the plastic waste can then be sent to manufacture new plastic products. This is by far the most commonly used process in the UK and also a core method of recycling waste plastic materials:

Chemical Recycling

Three primary chemical recycling methods include pyrolysis, gasification and solvolysis. This process works by reverting plastic waste into a chemical feedstock by changing the structure of the polymeric waste. This transforms it into a chemical building block including monomers that can be repurposed. Plastic Expert does not work with processors and factory partners who use this process.

Which Plastics Can and Cannot Be Recycled?

You can find which material was used to create your plastic product by checking the recycling symbol on the material. Most plastic types can be recycled which includes the following materials: 

1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)

This versatile polymer is most commonly known to make water bottles and soda containers. PET is not only lightweight and durable but also highly recyclable.

2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is the strong, reliable material used in everything from pipes to shampoo and milk bottles. Its durability and resistance to moisture make it a top choice for packaging.

3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)

PVC is a commonly used form of plastic in various applications, from cable insulation to vinyl records. PVC's versatility and durability make it an essential part of products across many industries.

4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

LDPE is the resilient material behind many everyday items like plastic bags, food packaging, and agricultural film. Its lightweight nature and flexibility makes it perfect for various applications.

5. Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is a versatile plastic found in items such as bottle caps, crates, and even automotive parts. Its strength, heat resistance, and lightweight properties make it a valuable material.

6. Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam)

Polystyrene is a lightweight plastic used in the packaging of electronics, food containers, and even insulation building materials. Despite its convenience, disposing of polystyrene safely can be difficult. This is why we offer a specialist recycling service for businesses.

7. Other

This category encompasses a diverse range of plastics, including PMMA and acrylic, each with its unique properties and applications. These plastics often find their way into products like clear plastic sheets, signage, and optical lenses. While they serve crucial purposes, disposing of them improperly can pose challenges due to their varied chemical compositions.

What Cannot Be Recycled?

There are some plastics which are much more difficult to recycle. Quite often, this is because of the way they’re manufactured or how they were used. This includes:

Some food-contaminated plastics.

Metallised plastic, commonly used for crisp packets.

Plastics with hazardous contamination.

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How Does Recycling Plastic Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and CO2?

Waste sent for incineration decreased by 0.3 million tonnes (2.8 per cent) to 12.1 million tonnes in 2022/23 compared to 2021/22. Although we can see a reduction, a huge quantity of waste is ending up in incineration facilities and sometimes landfills.
Recycled plastic saves CO2 through a reduction in virgin plastic. In fact, plastic recycling saves between 30% and 80% of the carbon emissions associated with virgin plastic. This is from a reduction in fossil fuels, extracting raw materials, and conserving energy.
On average, approximately 1.4 metric tonnes of CO2 are saved when recycling 1 tonne of plastic waste. This will vary depending on many factors, including the polymer type and quality of waste. 
When we recycle our plastic waste, materials can be repurposed into new plastic products. This reduces the need for plastic production and the extraction of raw resources, further reducing harm to the planet.
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The Future Of Plastic Recycling In The UK

In the UK, there are 391 different local authorities with varying waste management schemes. For businesses, it’s very important that they can partner with recycling companies to increase their environmental credentials. The increased pressure for increased recycling rates is seeing the plastic industry push for innovation and the opening of more processing facilities. 
With regular recycling collections, schemes such as the plastic packaging tax, and businesses building sustainable solutions, plastic recycling rates should see a steady increase in the coming years.



Most plastic is recyclable. Well known recyclable plastics include plastic bottles and containers, plastic carrier bags, plastic film, and some types of plastic packaging. These plastics can be recycled through a mechanical process, at a licenced facilty, to minimise environmental impact.


We recycle most types of plastics at our partner recycling facilities. Plastic which cannot be recycled include materials which are heavily contaminated or even plastic items which combine several types of material.

What is the best way to recycle plastic?

1. Segregate the plastic waste at source using one of our industry-first picking guides.
2. Where possible, compact or bale the plastic waste. Otherwise, the plastic can be palletised for onward transport.
3. The material should be sent to a licenced recycling factory where the waste plastic is turned into pellets, granules or a flake.


To recycle plastic, it should be sorted by polymer type and clear of any contaminants. Once plastic waste is sorted by polymer type, it can then be shredded, granulated or flaked depending on the type of polymer which is being recycled.

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