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Waste plastic collected in Exeter being turned into benches

Published: 31 July 2023

 Waste plastic collected in Exeter being turned into benches Waste plastic collected in Exeter being turned into benches

Low value plastic waste collected in Exeter is being turned into handy new benches.

The City Council has teamed up with Circular 11 to recycle low value waste plastics collected from doorsteps in Exeter into benches. Plastics collected from street and river litter pics and beach cleans also go into making the products.

Council waste collection and recycling staff have been testing the benches out during their break times.

This pioneering collaborative project sees the waste plastics enter the circular economy rather than being sent to the energy from waste plant.

Cllr Ruth Williams, Lead Councillor with responsibility for recycling, said: “Once again, Exeter is raising the bar for recycling and finding innovative ways to make good use of the hardest to recycle plastics. I have to take my hat off to the team at the Materials Reclamation Facility for driving forward this initiative and making it happen.”

Matt Hulland, Resource Recovery Manager for Exeter City Council, said: “What sets this ground-breaking project apart from similar schemes is that these awesome benches have been made from low value and often hard-to-recycle plastics rather than higher quality plastics that could have been used to create new packaging. Other companies have made similar products, but from high value plastics. Our work with Circular 11 not only generates income for pioneering innovation, but shows how collaborative circular economy modelling can work in action.”

Once Exeter City Council has collected and granulated the plastic, Circular 11 manufactures it into the benches in their facility on the south coast.

Circular 11’s Ben Gibbons said: “All of the plastics in these benches have been permanently saved from landfill and incineration. Even when the benches reach the end of their life, we'll recycle them back into more products. They demonstrate that there can be a sustainable future for plastics when we work together to improve the effectiveness of recycling systems.”

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