As part of our wider focus on addressing issues with plastic waste in society, the GML has expanded beyond the lab to examine the recycling infrastructure of the UK in an interdisciplinary collaborative project. Providing valuable insight into the challenges currently facing sorting of plastic waste in the UK, our project “One Bin to Rule Them All” gives insight into challenges in optimising the value of waste.
The idea behind this project is incredibly simple: that it should be possible for an ordinary member of the public to put any piece of waste which they think is plastic into one bin, and that the resulting jumble of products should be capable of mechanical sorting into valuable constituents for reuse, recycling or repurposing. In order to create the high quality recyclates that the UK lacks and currently needs, with ever-increasing pressure from brands and retailers who wish to increase their proportion of recycled content, plastics must be separated efficiently. There is therefore a need to separate reusable items from those that will be recycled or used for energy-from-waste.
This project seeks to explore the problems that need to be tackled to create this efficient material usage – from the point of view of consumers, government and suppliers.