Plastic bags and wrapping recycling to expand to reach 22,000 South Glos households

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Recycling and containers

As part of the continuing efforts to increase recycling in South Gloucestershire, the council is expanding its participation in the FPF FlexCollect project, a national scheme to pilot the kerbside collection and recycling of plastic bags and wrapping from approximately 20 per cent of homes in the district.

Around 20,000 more households will be able to recycle their plastic bags and wrapping from home, as the second phase of the scheme is rolled out to selected collection routes across the district in May. The programme began in October 2022 with collections from almost 2,000 homes in Chipping Sodbury, Bradley Stoke, Olveston and Alveston.

The new collection routes cover more areas in South Gloucestershire, with a wider mix of types of homes in urban and rural communities.

Residents on the new trial routes will receive information about the collections in advance and be given a pack of bags in which to collect their plastic bags and wrapping. Once full, the bag should be tied securely and put it in one of their recycling boxes on their normal collection day.

The packaging that can be recycled for the trial includes all plastic bags and wrappers, for example packets and packaging from sweets, crisps, multipack wrapping, sleeves from plastic bottles, packaging from cheese, meat and fish, microwavable food packets, plastic film lids, bubble wrap, cling film and the net bags that fruit and vegetable are sold in.

Since the trial began in October 2022, more than 19 tonnes of plastic bags, wrappers and various packets, with a volume equivalent to over 7,000 black wheelie bins (140l sized) have been collected in South Gloucestershire. Those materials have been sent to a number of UK based recycling facilities to test different recycling methods.

The nationwide pilot project is fully funded by the Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF), DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and UK Research & Innovation’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge until March 2025, and is project managed by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd.

The aim of the trial is to understand how plastic bags and wrapping recycling works when collected from households on a large scale. This next phase will help councils, government and the waste industry understand what infrastructure will need to be put in place to allow all councils to offer these the collections in the future. The council plan to roll out the service to all households in South Gloucestershire by 2026.

Residents who would like to recycle their plastic bags and wrapping who are not part of the pilot can take them to most large supermarkets when they do their regular shopping. For more information about what can be recycled, how and where, visit the council website: https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/environment-and-waste/waste-and-recycling