Prof Dame Julia Higgins says about recycling plastics: “… looking at the science of mixing plastic polymers together, it turns out they’re extremely reluctant to mix, and one of the consequences of that is if you try and mix them together, then you’d just get “crumbs”, it simply won’t hang together, it won’t mix…”
In other words, the different polymers all need to be kept separately, to make it possible to recycle them properly.
Gwen Powell, Founder of, and Project Director for CleanConscience, found that trying to engage with UK based plastics recyclers, you’d have to be able to offer a minimum of 14 tonnes of the same polymer at a time, and with many different types of polymer being used in plastic bottles, tubes, lids, and caps, that this is just not practical or financially sustainable.
Prof Higgins goes on to say: “My own view is that we should be burning the plastics, they are a source of energy, they came from oil, they should go back into the energy cycle, having borrowed them from the oil in the first place. To me, we shouldn’t be saying “we shouldn’t use plastics”, we should be saying “what is the end of their life”, we should be making it more useful as an energy source…”