Yorkshire based waste management and recycling company MyGroup has supported Southend-on-Sea City Council in demonstrating a proof of concept to increase plastic recycling rates among businesses and organisations as part of an EU sponsored programme, ‘PlastiCity’.
PlastiCity is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund with the aim of developing replicable strategies and solutions for 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 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.
MyGroup has delivered 500 specially designed recycling boxes for the council to distribute to businesses and organisations across the city region, including schools, charities and libraries, for the collection of the hard to recycle plastic waste, such as soft plastic used for wrapping and bags.
The plastic waste is being collected and processed by MyGroup at the company’s facilities in Hull, East Yorkshire, where it will be recycled, end to end, back into supply chains. The 500 boxes provided equate to approximately three tonnes of plastic waste when full, with 39 collected so far.
The council in Southend-on-Sea, which was granted city status in March last year, was successful in securing funding for the PlastiCity programme to deliver innovative ways and strategies to dispose of plastic waste via the circular economy. The four cities taking part in the programme are aiming to increase plastic recycling rates in their region from 20% to 50% by 2030.
Local businesses and organisations were identified as a particular focus of the council’s efforts during an initial mapping and research stage to understand the behaviours and barriers around plastic recycling. Through ongoing engagement with these groups, it became evident that businesses and schools, particularly, were keen to collaborate on environmental projects and make strides towards sustainability.
As a consequence, the Council initiated the ‘PlastiCity Pledge’ – encouraging these organisations to reduce waste and make efforts to improve recycling performance, as well as to measure and report their improvement over a six month period. The MyGroup recycling boxes, collection and processing services are providing the means to deliver on this pledge.
Geeta Gaundar, PlastiCity project manager, Southend-on-Sea City Council, said: ‘MyGroup has been instrumental in helping us demonstrate replicable capabilities for processing hard to recycle plastic, as well as to generally promote the benefits of the circular economy – two core pillars of the PlastiCity project.’
Councillor Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture and tourism, Southend-on-Sea City Council, 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, said: ‘We are proud to be working hand in hand with a local authority to bolster recycling capacity and expertise within an urban municipality – 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.