Part of the show Recycling, Water Use and Problem Plastic
Roger in Surrey asked:
I've heard that there are only two major recycling plants in the UK and the rest is sent abroad in boats. If this is the case, doesn't the pollution from the boats offset the benefits from recycling?
I don't think that's true. I know that there are a number of plants up and down the country. It's a stage process so you have reprocessing plants and mills. The UK paper recycling industry is big on its own so it doesn't need to import or export wood from outside. Often there is an amount of recycled material that is exported, such as green glass, because we just don't have the market for it in this country in terms of the glass production. But the transport costs are offset by the energy saved by recycling in Europe.