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Unilever tackles mixed plastics recycling with Torbay Council

Unilever UK, the fast moving consumer goods company behind many well-known household brands including Flora, Wall’s Ice Cream, Dove, Persil and Knorr, has announced a new partnership with Torbay Council in which it will support the South West Council’s new mixed plastics recycling initiative.

From early December, Torbay’s 60,000 households will be able to recycle mixed plastics, adding them to their weekly combined kerbside collection to be sorted in transit. Materials that can now be included which previously went to landfill include margarine and ice cream tubs and noodle pots.

Louis Lindenberg, Global Packaging Sustainability Director at Unilever, said, "Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Unilever. In the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we made a global commitment to halve our environmental impact by 2020 across the life cycle of our products, incorporating a pledge to increase recycling in countries all around the world, including the UK. This project with Torbay Council is a great example of our commitment in action and our way of helping consumers to do their part for the environment."

Cllr David Thomas, Torbay Council’s Executive Lead with responsibility for waste disposal and recycling, said, "It is thanks to the fantastic efforts of Torbay residents that we have increased the Bay’s recycling rate to 45 per cent. We are aware they would also like to recycle plastics and other items, and we are really pleased that our joint venture company, TOR21, has been able to find outlets for these items. We are also extremely grateful to Unilever for their support for our latest initiative."

The move by Unilever to work with Torbay Council in this pilot project – the first time it has worked with a council on a mixed plastics recycling scheme – has been commended by WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme):

Marcus Gover, Director of Closed Loop Economy at WRAP said, "WRAP welcomes the partnership initiative Unilever has developed with Torbay and Jayplas2. Recycling more of the c. 1 million tonnes of non-bottle plastic packaging disposed of by households each year in the UK has positive environmental benefits when done properly, and prevents valuable materials being lost to landfill. With this initiative Unilever and Torbay are demonstrating how non-bottle plastic packaging can be collected and recycled effectively into high quality, valuable resource streams.

"Our advice to local authorities is that they should only collect non-bottle plastics if they have access to the facilities to sort and reprocess them. This partnership is a good example of collections services being developed in harmony with reprocessing capacity to deliver quality recycling."

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