RECYCLING bosses have criticised Swindon Borough Council’s moves towards incinerating plastic waste, rather than recycling it.

The council launched a consultation on the plans six weeks ago. If approved by the borough’s ruling cabinet, it would see plastic waste sent to its solid recovery fuel plant together with other household waste.

At the plant, the rubbish is squashed into large pallets of industrial fuel and burned at high temperatures at cement-making factories.

However, some commentators were unimpressed.

Simon Ellin, of the Recycling Association, criticised the extraordinary moves. He told the BBC: "We don't have enough capacity in the UK and we do have to export a lot of our materials but if you collect it properly - and Swindon haven't - than you have unlimited markets.

"If you don't do it properly and you jumble it all together than you're not going to find a market. Swindon haven't done it properly."

Coun Maureen Penny, cabinet member for the environment, told the ITV that Swindon Borough Council had proposed the no-plastics rules over concerns about waste supposedly sent for recycling actually ending up in landfill sites.

She said: "With advice from the National Audit Agency and the Environment Agency where we're not quite sure where our plastics end up, Swindon is making a very bold move to look at doing something different until we can get that market sorted out properly.”

The Local Government Association said waste import bans from countries like China are costing councils an extra £500,000 a year in higher charges from firms processing the waste and lost income.

Martin Tett, LGA environment spokesman, said: "It is essential that the government provide support to help councils offset the loss of income they face as a result of the [China] ban."

A public consultation on the council’s proposed waste strategy ended on Friday.