MYGroup and Southend-on-Sea City Council in Essex, England have collaboratively demonstrated a proof-of-concept initiative to increase plastic recycling rates among local businesses and organisations.

This joint effort is part of the EU’s PlastiCity programme that is sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund.

PlastiCity aims to develop solutions and ‘replicable strategies’ to boost the rates of recycling in the urban regions of four European countries, including the UK’s Southend-on-Sea, Belgium’s Ghent, France’s Douai region and The Hague in the Netherlands.

According to MYGroup, the project’s main focus is to enhance the recycling rates of ‘lost plastics’ that are eligible for recycling but are not recovered or processed as part of current mainstream waste-management operations.

As a result of it not having any recycling facilities, lost plastic is then transferred to landfills.

To support Southend-on-Sea council’s effort, MYGroup provided as many as 500 specially designed recycling boxes that were distributed to businesses across the region and organisations such as schools, charities and libraries.

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The associated organisations were required to collect their hard-to-recycle plastic waste, including soft plastics used for wrappings and bags, and organise them into their respective boxes.

The collected material was then processed by MYGroup at its facilities in Hull, East Yorkshire to recycle and return the plastics back into the relevant supply chains.

The company said together these 500 boxes can collect approximately three tonnes of plastic waste when they are full. So far, the company has received 39 boxes worth of waste.

MYGroup director Steve Carrie 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.”