Why recycle plastic?


Plastic is one of the most popular and useful materials of modern times. Its popularity is part of the problem: we now use about 20 times more plastic than we did 50 years ago and it’s believed to take a minimum 500 years to decompose. However, we can optimise the lifespan of plastics by reusing and recycling items as many times as possible.

Plastic is a low value product with high volume.  How much you separate depends on its end re use.  If it is going towards hard plastic (e.g. garden benches) then lots of things can go in, if it’s going towards making bottles then it needs to be more precisely sorted.

By reusing and recycling items as many times as possible, for example, by recycling used plastic bottles into new ones, we can reduce our need to create new plastic. This means we can:

  • conserve non-renewable fossil fuels (oil)
  • reduce the consumption of energy used
  • reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfill
  • reduce the emission of gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Plastic trays, bottles, pots, cartons (including Tetra Paks), lids picked up from your recycling bags and the recycling sites on the island.  They are then squashed and baled at the Glengorm Civil Amenities site and then sent off for further sorting and processing on the mainland.

As with glass, paper/card and cans/tins the Council receives a payment for recycling the materials and avoids a landfill charge.  If the bales are contaminated with general waste, food or other materials they can be rejected and the Council loses the money on transporting them while receiving no payment for the materials and is also charged for then disposing of it in landfill.

Here is a photo of the bales at Glengorm, waiting to be shipped for processing:

How can I get involved?

Recycle your plastics using the Council bags and recycling bin provided.  Take any excess to the public recycling points in Craignure, Fionnphort and Tobermory (Balicate and Glengorm).

For the sake of the people sorting out this plastic, please wash them well, particularly any food items.

Please remove the plastic trigger and spray device from any cleaning bottles.

Please remove any plastic film on food trays or cling film.

We ask you to rinse your items for two reasons: the first is to make it as pleasant as possible for the folk who are handling these items; and the second is that a dirty item can contaminate a whole batch that then has to go to landfill.

Why not have a go at reducing how much plastic you use in the first place.

Below are nine ways to reduce the amount of plastics you need to buy!

For more information and ideas about reducing the amount of plastics you need to buy see: