Message is clear when buying plastic bottles
Plastic bottles come in all shapes and colours, but Hamilton City Council urges Hamiltonians to “keep it clear” when choosing a soft drink bottle. Clear plastic bottles can be recycled up to nine times, which puts less stress on our environment. Coloured plastic can be recycled, but the dyes adding the colour turn it grey when processed. Coloured plastic with the recycling number 2 generally comes from household cleaning or hygiene products or milk bottles. This plastic is mainly white and has a market to be recycled for wheelie bins and plant pots. However, coloured plastic 1 (PET or food-grade plastic), in particular, soft drink and sports drink bottles, is harder to recycle and doesn’t have a market. Hamilton City Council rubbish and recycling transitional manager Trent Fowles says “this is where it becomes an issue”. “With no market for grey plastic, coloured plastics will just be sorted out at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and put into landfill.” This issue does not affect coloured glass, which can be recycled. About 1.2 tonnes of coloured plastic is heading to the Hamilton MRF each month. Fowles said this wasn’t an issue localised to Hamilton or even New Zealand, but was a worldwide problem. He hopes the market will change and a company will find a way to use grey plastic. Although there is no market for it yet, Fowles says people can continue to put coloured plastic into their yellow bin, but Hamiltonians should try to reduce the amount they buy and keep it out of landfill.