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19 October 2011, 05:00
New technology that should get people recycling more is being used for the first time in the UK, in West Berkshire.
The Magpie system at the new plant in Padworth separates rubbish and can tell the difference between different types of plastic.
At the moment certain types of plastic can't be recycled - but this technology allows Veolia to sort all types.
Richard Kirkman, Head of Technology at Veolia Environmental Services said it could even mean fewer bins on the street in the long-run.
"Recycling different plastics in particular has always been a challenge with new types introduced all the time.
"The Magpie will allow us to sort any kind of plastic and cut the link between increased recycling inevitably meaning more bins.
"If we can recycle just 1% more plastic, we can cut carbon emissions by 300,000 tonnes - that's the equivalent of 150 return flights from London to Sydney."
West Berkshire residents currently use 3 different containers for paper, glass and plastic bottles and cans.
The plastic bottles and cans were then sent on to one of Veolia's recycling centres where they were separated before being sent to re-processors to split them into individual materials.
Now this will all be done at Padworth using the Magpie technology - which recognises different material by bouncing an infra-red beam as it passes through a scanner.
In future the technology can be adapted to recognise additional types of plastic - which means more plastics can go in one bin and less confusion on what can and can't be recycled.