Cutbacks at waste facilities have left local people unable to recycle plastics – at a time when fears over pollution are growing.

Nick Williams, who lives on Bedford Avenue, took his unwanted plastic waste to Summers Lane Reuse and Recycling Centre in North Finchley – which used to accept a range of plastics – on October 25.

But he was surprised to find the facility would no longer accept the items, and he was forced to take them home.

Mr Williams said: “They were always a bit picky about plastics, but they did at least take some, like plastic plant pots. But now there is no plastics facility there at all.

“There is all this plastic ending up in the sea and being digested by birds and fish.

“I am quite willing to save my plastic and dispose of it there.

“Surely, every recycling centre in the country ought to have such a facility in order to encourage the saving of plastic from being bundled with general waste?”

Awareness of the environmental impact of plastic pollution is growing thanks to shows such as the BBC’s Blue Planet, which drew attention to its effects on marine life.

But the cost of plastic recycling has risen significantly in recent months – partly due to a ban on waste imports by countries such as China and Malaysia.

Summers Lane Reuse and Recycling Centre stopped accepting hard plastics, including children’s toys and hard plastic containers, in March this year.

Reusable hard plastic items are sent to the Second Time Around shop at the Kings Road Reuse and Recycling Centre, where they are sold.

Non-reusable plastics are now included in general waste instead of being recycled.

A Barnet Council spokesman said: “The reuse and recycling centre at Summers Lane can accept plastic bottles for recycling, but cannot currently accommodate other plastic products, such as hard plastics.

“The recycling market for hard plastics is unpredictable. Recycling facilities for these were removed from all the Reuse and Recycling Centres operated by the North London Waste Authority earlier this year, as there were no viable outlets for this material.

“The only option now is to put it these items in the general waste if the items are not suitable for reuse.

“This may change in the future if markets change. The situation will be reviewed if and when this happens.”