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15 August, 2008

Better on paper

The BBC website's 'month without plastic' project offers useful information about the plastics content of typical drinks containers, and possible recycling opportunities.  It's surprisingly optimistic.

For example, the lacquer protecting the inside of a soft-drink can from the corrosive sugar solution is no barrier to recycling the aluminium itself, and the furnace used to burn off the plastic is partially powered by the resulting gases.

Much the same happens with plastic- or aluminium-coated paper/cardboard packaging: the coatings partially fuel the processors. Unfortunately, the nearest such large-scale industrial plant is in Sweden, though a British equivalent is planned.
Few councils accept these coated cartons via doorstep collections, but many – 85%, apparently – do accept them via 'neighbourhood' recycling points. Tetrapak offers a map of such locations; there are five in the Lancaster area.

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