Transparency urged for plastics recycling bags

Plastic waste for recycling. Photo:

Ordinary grey bin bags containing plastic waste for recycling are no longer being accepted, waste processing companies have told public broadcaster NOS.

‘The waste processors want to visually check if there’s anything that doesn’t belong in the bags and you can’t do that with the opaque grey bags. If we can’t see what the quality of the material is we can’t process it,’ Rudie Marsman of Van Scherpenzeel recycling firm told the broadcaster.

At Van Scherpenzeel two to three tonnes of plastic and metal packaging and cartons (PMD) end up being burnt unnecessarily every year, he said.

Waste disposal companies told local councils as early as January that opaque bags containing such refuse are no longer welcome because ‘the assumption is they contain ordinary household waste’.


With a few exceptions, locals authorities have failed to notify the public that opaque bags are banned and transparent bags are now the order of the day.

Some years ago, these were issued via packaging industry initiative Plastic Heroes but when local councils took over the collection of PMD waste in 2015 the bags were no longer available.

Especially in cities, which have introduced containers for plastic or wheelie bins, the grey bags are still widely used. ‘That is where it went wrong. It should have been explained to the public that the transparent bag served a purpose,’ Marsman told NOS.

Waste processing companies are reportedly struggling to process the enormous amount of PMD waste: although more people are sorting their waste, the amount of other refuse in among the PMD waste is growing too.

A report by Rijkswaterstaat showed that 21% of collected PMD waste contains items that sorting machines cannot handle, such as food waste, plastic toys, household implements and clothes, NOS writes.



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