Recycling plastic in Kent

We process the plastic and other recyclable materials that are collected by the district and borough councils. Almost all the recyclable waste we receive, including plastics, are processed and separated into individual materials for recycling at local Materials Recycling Facilities (MRF).

How materials are sorted and prepared for recycling in Materials Recycling Facilities

Plastics collected from households are used for recycling and remanufacturing. They are sorted into their various types and transported to reprocessing facilities where they are washed and refined into either flakes and pellets or, are sold back into the manufacturing industry, for example the production of plastic milk containers.

How plastic is recycled in Kent video transcript

No plastic is sent to China under the Kent County Council (KCC) contracts. The plastics are all sorted into their various polymer types in the UK. Existing and new UK and European markets receive the plastics for their reprocessing and remanufacture into new products.

We work closely with our contractors to ensure the materials they process on our behalf are handled by responsible, ethical and UK Environment Agency Licenced companies.

Plastics we can't recycle

We don't currently have the facility to recycle large rigid plastic items such as children’s play equipment. These are sent to be shredded and utilised as refuse derived fuel (RDF) within Europe.

Tips for using less plastic

  • Avoid using disposable bags when shopping by taking a reusable bag with you.
  • Avoid individually wrapped items and snack packs, buy in bigger sizes which have less wrapping and use less material.
  • Buy laundry detergent and home cleaning products in more concentrated formulas to avoid unnecessary packaging.
  • Buy recycled and biodegradable items where possible.
  • Avoid using single use plastic bottles for water, use a reusable bottle.
  • Switch to a reusable coffee cup.
  • Use beeswax wraps for storing food or packed lunches and picnics instead of cling film and plastic bags.

Find out how much money and plastic could be saved by switching to:

Find out where your waste goes

If you would like to find out more about what happens to Kent’s household waste and recycling, view the data on where our waste and recycling goes.