Unfortunately in Hampshire we can only recycle plastic which is bottle-shaped. Other items such as pots, tubs, bags and trays go in the refuse bin, where they are burned in an Energy from Waste plant which generates electricity.
This is because they are difficult to sort, and there is simply very limited facilities for recycling these other plastics. Those Councils who have been collecting them have often been sending them to the Far East for re-processing. Recently China banned almost all imports of waste, and other countries are following suit. Vietnam recently announced limits on waste imports. and this has given a real headache to those collectors.
Often the plastic ends up as incinerator fuel because there is no re-processor who will take it. For this reason some Councils have stopped accepting any plastic other than bottles in their recycling collections.
Sending plastic waste abroad can cause other problems, if it is sent to countries where there is a high risk of plastic entering the ocean. All the non-recyclable plastic in Hampshire is incinerated with energy recovery; so we can be sure it is dealt with properly.
We have all come to rely on the convenience that plastic offers, and due to its production methods and light-weight qualities, it has less of a carbon footprint than other packaging materials such as aluminium and glass.
Hampshire's waste partnership, Project Integra, has recently carried out a review into other materials we could add into our kerbside recycling, but for the reasons described, widening the range of plastics accepted is not viable currently.