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Two thirds of plastic food pots can't be recycled, UK authorities warn

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Only a third of all the plastic tubs and trays used by British households every year can be reused, analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed Saturday.

Two-thirds of 525,000 tons of plastics used to package foods go to landfill or are incinerated, it showed.

The LGA says councils are doing everything they can to tackle plastic waste, with 99 percent of local authorities collecting plastic bottles for recycling and 77 percent picking up pots, tubs and trays.

But packaging for food can be made from a variety of polymers, the molecules which make up plastic, which need to be separated out to remove low-grade and non-recyclable types of plastic such as polystyrene.

Some packaging uses different plastics such as the body and lid of a yogurt pot, while fruit and vegetables punnets are made from three types of polymer, and microwave meals are cased in black plastic which cannot be easily sorted.

LGA urged manufacturers to scrap varying types of package foods to help cut waste and increase recycling. It also hopes the government could consider a ban on low-grade plastics and for producers to contribute to the cost of collecting or disposing of the products.

Judith Blake, the Local Government Association's environment spokesman, said: "It's time for manufacturers to stop letting a smorgasbord of unrecyclable and damaging plastic flow into our environment...We've been calling for producers of unrecyclable material to develop a plan to stop this from entering the environment for years. That needs to happen urgently, but the Government should now consider banning low-grade plastics, particularly those for single use, in order to increase recycling."

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