Why can't single-use plastic items be recycled?
Some single use plastic items can be recycled, but not all of them. It depends on the type of plastic, and whether facilities exist to recycle it the plastic if it is indeed a variety which can be recycled.
Types of Single Use PlasticsThere are 6 types of plastic, all of them can be recycled but not all are. There is a 7th type of plastic but it is really a group of plastics, which nobody can be bothered to name individually.
From the above list types 1 and 2 are likely the most commonly recycled. And as such you should always try to use single use plastics that are PET or HDPE, as generally there are option for getting these recycled.
Facilities to Recycle Single Use Plastics
In the UK PET and HDPE are recycled by 92% of councils. So if for example you have just finished some bottled water (PET), take the bottle home and put it in your recycling bin, and it will get recycled.
As for nearly all other packaging it can be taken back to the shop where you bought it. When shopping at Tesco for example, if you find that your microwave meal tray is not recyclable, then take it back to the store . . . if everybody did this the problem would disappear over night.
Keep it Simple
As a final point do not buy single use plastic packaging that is "stuck together" with multiple types of other material. The below image shows some shampoo, image is from 666 Alert.
Waste Recycling Permits London