We have successfully demonstrated a proof-of-concept to increase plastic recycling rates among businesses and organisations across the City as part of the PlastiCity initiative.
PlastiCity is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund with the aim of increasing recycling rates in urban areas of four European countries - the UK (Southend-on-Sea), Belgium (Ghent), France (the Douai region) and the Netherlands (The Hague).
The council was supported by MYgroup, a Yorkshire-based waste management and recycling company who have delivered 500 recycling boxes for the council to distribute to businesses and organisations across the City, including schools, charities and libraries.
The project has a particular focus on increasing recycling rates of ‘lost plastics’ - material eligible for recycling, but not yet collected or processed by mainstream waste management operations and subsequently sent to landfill.
The plastic waste is being collected and processed by MYGroup at the company’s state-of-the-art facilities in Hull, East Yorkshire, where it will be recycled and put back into supply chains. The 500 boxes provided equate to approximately three tons of plastic waste when full, with 39 collected so far.
Through ongoing engagement with local businesses and organisations, the council initiated the ‘PlastiCity Pledge’ - encouraging these organisations to reduce waste and improve recycling performance. The MYGroup recycling boxes, collection and processing services are providing the means to deliver on this pledge.
Councillor Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture and tourism, said: “Plastic waste causes severe damage to the environment and wildlife, and it is important we act now to pave the way for future generations.
“Southend-on-Sea was the only city in the UK to be chosen to take part in the project, meaning we have a huge opportunity and responsibility to set the gold standard for plastic recycling for others to follow.”
Steve Carrie, director, MYGroup, added: “We’re proud to be working hand-in-hand with Southend-on-Sea City Council to bolster recycling capacity and expertise - processing and transforming plastic waste that would otherwise end up in landfill or incineration. We hope these efforts will inspire the other European city regions involved in the PlastiCity project and beyond to invest in and grow their waste management capabilities.”
PlastiCity is part of a wider EU inter-region cooperation programme, ‘Interreg 2 Seas’, which finances projects focused on combatting climate change, reducing carbon and promoting sustainability in coastal countries along the southern North Sea and English Channel.