PlastiCity – bringing the war on lost plastics to Southend-on-Sea

PlastiCity Logo

Plastics are everywhere. It is an amazing material; cheap, strong, flexible and durable, and therefore used in a multitude of different forms.

These same qualities also mean that plastic never really breaks down. For example, a non-recyclable plastic bottle can survive in the ocean for up to 450 years.

PlastiCity- Resourcing Plastics from the City

Southend-on-Sea has been chosen as the only town in the UK to take part in PlastiCity, a three year research project that aims to increase the amount of recycled commercial and industrial plastics in the 2 seas region – UK, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. The project is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund as part of the Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 European Territorial Cooperation Programme.

The main aim of PlastiCity is to develop strategies and solutions that can be replicated easily which increase recycling rates in urban environments, from 20-30% to over 50%. We will aim to do this by unlocking the use of “lost plastics” as secondary resources from the urban environment. Lost plastics are products that cannot be recycled or products that are used for a single time, before staying on the planet for over 300 years. The project will also look to research and develop strategies and solutions to identify, collect and recycle more commercial and industrial plastics.

This will improve the living conditions of more than half a million residents in the 2 Seas region by reducing the amount of plastic pollution. There are tons and tons of plastic in the ocean. It eventually breaks down into smaller pieces but never goes away completely. Marine animals eat it and become sick or die. It also entangles and injures them, making it difficult for them to swim or fly. Unknown numbers of animals die this way each year and toxins from the plastics that marine animals have ingested are beginning to make their way into our food stream.

Re-Thinking Plastics

Getting rid of plastic is simply not possible. There are many different types of plastic and some are totally impossible to recycle. What we all need to think about how we use plastic and what we do with it when we no longer need it.

How can I help?


If you run your own business and you’d like to reduce your plastic footprint we would love to hear from you. Please contact the PlastiCity team.


  • dispose of your litter responsibly – there are hundreds of litter bins located across the Southend-on-Sea borough
  • if you can’t find a bin, take your rubbish home with you
  • don’t flush plastic items down the toilet
  • avoid buying single use or non-recyclable plastics – buy a refillable water bottle. Use a bag for life. Small changes can lead to big differences
  • recycle, to find out what can be recycled please see our kerbside collection pages. Also to find out what happens to our recycling please see our What happens to our recycling? page
  • think about joining a group or the Street Champion scheme to take local action to reduce littering or clean beaches

For more information about the project, contact:

Page last updated: 25/10/2019