Plastic Processing

Devon County Council (DCC) have stated that “Plastics segregated at Household Waste Recycling Centres are sent to re-processors.”

1. What is the data for the percentage of “segregated” as opposed to “unsegregated” plastic?

2. What percentage does not go into reprocessing? [e.g.: black plastics]

3. What percentage goes to incineration in Devon, in the UK and abroad?

4. What percentage is sold on the open market?

 5. What percentage of plastic is made into other goods? What type of goods?

6. What is the lifespan of these new plastic items? [eg: of carpet backing] Which of these new plastic items are themselves recyclable?


7. What percentage goes to incineration in Devon, in the UK and abroad?

8. What percentage is sold on the open market?


9. Please provide any documentation relating to auditing of these contractual agreements. By auditing, I mean the mechanisms by which the re-processors can be made fully accountable and the systems by which compliance is reported back to the Council


 Since 2018, DCC have ‘updated’ the information they provide on the recycling of plastics, now available at Recycle Devon:

“What happens: Plastic is sorted into different grades and then sent to the correct re-processor where it is turned into new plastic items such as bottles, fleeces and food containers. Depending on the grade, it may also be turned into pellets used to manufacture other things. The majority of this occurs within the UK however a select number of specialist plastics are sent to a facility in Germany as the UK doesn’t have the ability.”

This website in turn provides a link to the website Recycle Now, with the following information:

“Whilst we have been able to recycle some of these in the UK for some time, there is now ongoing large investments in the technology required to expand the scope of plastic materials we are able to recycle including items such as those used to make flexible pouches. Whilst more different types of plastic are being recycled, there are some types that still go to landfill, are incinerated or are transported abroad for recycling.”

I would have further questions following on from these updates:

10. What percentage of the plastic is sent to a re-processor?

11. What percentage of the plastic which is sent to a re-processor is turned into a) new plastic items and b) pellets?

12. What percentage of plastic is sent to Germany?

13. And what exactly happens to the plastic in the facility in Germany?

14. What percentage of the plastic a) goes to landfill, b) is incinerated and c) is transported abroad for recycling?

Devon County Council do not hold any of the information requested. The first website mentioned within “updated websites” reflects the general activities of the District Councils throughout Devon (the Waste Collection Authorities) and does not relate to Household Waste Recycling Centre activities. The Recycle Now website is a third party website.