Suffolk bids to become a recycling beacon in war against plastic waste
Suffolk County Council is hoping to be at the forefront of any government initiative to cut down on the amount of plastic waste created in Britain.
The county has applied to take part in any government trials aimed at reducing the amount of plastic – especially plastic containers – sent to landfill or energy from waste sites.
Suffolk is already in the second best county in Britain when it comes to recycling plastic – the home waste recycling bins used by properties across the county have helped reduce the amount of plastic sent for incineration.
And county council cabinet member for the environment Matthew Hicks said the main message the authority was trying to get across was that less plastic should be used – and that any that was used should be recycled.
He said: 'We are proud to be near the top of the list of waste disposal authorities when it comes to recycling. We still have a strong aspiration to be seen as the greenest county.
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'This is largely because we have made it easier to recycle plastic of all types – but also we are doing our best to encourage people to use less plastic.'
The government is understood to be looking at schemes that would encourage more plastic to be recycled. A scheme in Norway allows people to leave their plastic for recycling and to be rewarded with vouchers.
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Mr Hicks said: 'If the government is going to launch any trial schemes we are keen to take part – we have already done much to encourage recycling.'
Suffolk already encourages household recycling more plastic goods than many other local authorities.
As well as bottles, which are widely recycled, Suffolk residents can also put trays and tubs in their recycling bins – items that are not collected in all parts of the country. Mr Hicks said: 'You can also recycle hard plastic like chairs are our household waste centres.'
And the council was also trying to encourage recycling at its offices and among its staff. People were offered financial incentives to buy reuseable coffee cups and plastic drinks bottles had been banned from the staff restaurant at Endeavour House.
Mr Hicks said: 'We think it is important to set an example as we try to encourage people to cut down on their plastic use and to recycle more of what they do use.'