Polywrap is used for lots of applications, from direct mail pieces to magazines and catalogues, and for keeping weekend newspapers and their supplements together. Every week, in fact, millions of polywrapped items make their way into the hands of consumers and businesses. And there’s good reason for that, polywrap is light, strong and weather resistant, making it extremely effective at the task it is required to fulfil. It is also, despite perceptions to the contrary, recyclable.
“Polywrap is LDPE [low-density polyethylene] and as such is one of the most easily recyclable materials on the market. The trouble is local authorities don’t want to take it back because it’s so light,” explains Malcolm Atkinson, managing director at Hereford-based flexible films extruder and printer Alfaplas. Unfortunately, the UK’s frankly dysfunctional recycling systems doesn’t help. As the BBC recently reported, across the UK there are 39 different sets of rules in force for plastics recycling. In the absence of a national standard, no wonder end-users are confused about what to do with their polywrap-type waste.