Information from the Environment Agency shows that nearly 3 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced in the UK each year, with over 80% of plastic waste products being buried in the ground, where they will not rot away.
Choose goods without excessive packaging, wherever possible. See Packaging for more details. Avoid buying bottles of water: fill a reusable bottle with tap water instead. At the very least, if you do buy bottled water, reuse the bottles by filling with tap water.
Plastic containers designed to hold food, such as icecream tubs, can be reused for food storage. Other plastic containers can be used as drip trays under plant pots and seed trays (if you punch holes into the bottom). You can use clear plastic containers as mini cloches to protect young plants from frost. (I use some old larger, lidded plastic containers to store bird food and others as small buckets when I am cleaning - Shirley)
This seems to change constantly! Although a good market exists for plastic bottles, that for mixed plastics (such as margarine tubs, plastic packaging and yoghurt pots) is more limited. You should only put plastic bottles into the blue-lidded bin for kerbside collection. Any other plastics may contaminate the load and result in the whole lot going to landfill. In all cases, wash and squash the bottles and replace bottle tops. Most plastic bottles are labelled 1,2 or 3. I have been advised to put bottles labelled with a 5 in the hard plastics bin at Marlborough Household Recycling Centre (HRC).
Rigid plastics, such as plastic garden furniture, plastic toys etc, that are damaged or for which you can't find another use, go in the hard plastics container at the HRC.
Currently, food containers such as meat trays, fruit punnets, yogurt pots etc. go in the plastic bottle container at the HRC (there are notices at the HRC). This is because they were clogging up the hard plastics machinery. They are collected and sorted separately from those collected from kerbside (only plastic bottles to go in home collection blue-lidded bin).
Plastic film, wrappers and bags are not yet collected for recycling at the HRC. However there is a company, Polyprint, that recycles some of these, but you need to post it to them. Some pre-packaged veg wrap and polythene magazine envelopes can be recycled at the supermarket in carrier bags container - look for the information printed on the packaging.