Cornwall rolls out HWRC rigid plastic collections

Cornwall council has introduced a rigid plastics recycling service across seven of its household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs).

Residents can now recycle a variety of previously non-recycled plastic items such as clean buckets, bins, storage boxes and containers, water butts, garden furniture, rigid plant pots and crates.

The material will be handled by Cornwall’s contractor Suez via its in-house trading team, which sells the material to “a number of re-processors that sort and process this material in the UK to create flakes”.

The council said that the service “has been introduced at all sites with suitable capacity and will be kept under review for roll out at other sites in the future.”

A spokesperson for Suez said: “SUEZ works with Cornwall Council to identify opportunities to expand the range of materials that can be recycled at the HWRCs.

“Rigid plastics recently became the latest material to be collected for recycling at seven HWRCs, removing this from the residual stream and responding to interest from residents in recycling more of their plastic waste.”

Over 21 tonnes of rigid plastics have already been diverted from energy recovery to recycling in the last month during trials, the company said.


The additional service is anticipated to increase the HWRC recycling rates by around 1%.

The council also urged residents to sort their waste prior to disposing of it.

Carol Mould, the council’s portfolio holder for neighbourhoods, said: “For unwanted goods that cannot be reused, we ask that people sort them before they arrive at their local HWRC and put them in the correct containers. This means we can recycle more.”

This comes after the analysis of waste at Cornwall’s HWRCs found that an average of 22.4% of items disposed of in the general waste container could have been recycled using the fortnightly household recycling service or placed in more suitable containers at the sites.

Ms Mould added: “Adding rigid plastic to items that can now be taken for recycling to seven of our larger HWRC’s means there is another way we can all cut down on waste and help recycle more. It gives us residents the opportunity to clear out the plastic items that are no longer needed whilst playing an important part in the sustainable production of new items.”

Cornwall’s recycling rate for the 2020/2021 financial year was 33.3%.

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