Plastic bottle recycling

All types of plastic bottle and plastic bottle tops can be recycled in your kerbside recycling box – not just drinks bottles, but also shampoo and shower gel, sauces, cleaning products, and many other types of plastic bottle. It doesn’t matter what shape or colour it is.

If it’s plastic and it’s a bottle – it can be recycled

We use 15 million plastic bottles every day in the UK, and yet less than half of these are recycled.

You can put empty bottles in your kerbside recycling box or in an on-street recycling bank, or take them to your nearest household waste recycling centre.

Recycled plastic bottles can be turned into all sorts of every day objects, such as fencing, benches, even fleeces. In fact it only takes 25 two litre bottles to make one adult sized fleece.

What happens to your plastic bottles?

  1. Once we have collected your plastic bottles, glass and cans they are transported to Lancashire’s materials recycling facility (MRF) at Leyland for sorting into the different streams.
  2. Using mechanical technology at the MRF the plastic bottles are separated from the glass and the cans. The plastic bottles are then further sorted into types using infra red technology.
  3. Once separated the plastic bottles are baled and sent to different recycling merchants across the UK.
  4. These recycling merchants wash then turn the plastic bottles into flakes and pellets.
  5. The flakes and pellets are used within the UK and Europe to become new products including bottles, packaging, drainage products and woven fibre.

Why can we only recycle plastic bottles?

Plastic bottles provide a consistent high quality material that has many applications with lots of established sorting facilities and markets in the UK. To enable us to collect other plastics we would need more sophisticated sorting technology and local markets for the material to ensure the solution is environmental beneficial.

In the future

Lancashire County Council is looking for markets for other plastics but the markets need to be local and secure with enough capacity to recycle the plastics from across the county - not just our district.

What else can I do with my plastic?

  • Recycle as many of your plastic bottles as possible including shampoo bottles, detergent and garden/car product bottles – just make sure they are empty first.
  • Shop smart, avoid over packaged products and buy in bulk where possible to reduce packaging.
  • Re-use plastic containers for storage.
  • Re-use carrier bags when you shop or recycle them at local supermarkets.

Last updated: 19 February 2018