Skip to content
A hand holds out a clear recycling bag full of plastic bags and wrapping

News & Campaigns

Cheltenham Borough Council

On this page

Your local authority is making it easier for you to recycle your plastic bags and wrapping so that we can all recycle better, together. For each other.

What is this pilot?

A new plastic bags and wrapping trial service has been introduced in your local area. From 3 October 2022 your plastic bags and wrapping will be collected fortnightly on the same day as your normal recycling service.

The trial will be available to a small number of residents at the start, but it will gradually expand to more residents in the selected areas over the next 2-3 years.

Recycled plastic bags and wrapping can be used to make new plastic products such as plastic packaging, ‘bags for life’, boxes, bins, and agricultural and construction materials.

Recycling your plastic bags and wrapping is simple! Find out what to do below.

How to recycle your plastic bags and wrapping at home

  1. 1

    Place your plastic bags and wrapping into the collection bags provided by Cheltenham Borough Council.

  2. 2

    Place only your plastic bags and wrapping in the collection bag, tie it securely, and place in your existing recycling boxes.

  3. 3

    If you’re wondering what type of plastic bags and wrapping can be included in your collection bag, see the list below!

What to include

  • All plastic bags – carrier bags, salad/fruit/vegetable bags, frozen food bags, bread bags, cereal bags, flower bags

  • Confectionary wrappers – chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cakes, ice cream and chewing gum wrappers

  • Foil lined packaging – crisp packets, snack packets, coffee bags

  • Plastic film and sleeves – removable film lids, plastic sleeves for bottles and jars

  • All pouches, sachets, and packets – microwaveable food, baby food, pet food, cosmetics, detergent, and cleaning pouches

  • Bubble wrap and cling film

  • Fruit and vegetable net bags

  • Cheese, fish, and meat wrapping

  • Outer layer bags and wrapping – multipack, toilet and kitchen roll, magazine, and newspaper wrapping

What not to include

  • Crisp tubes

  • Plastic straws or cutlery

  • Foam or polystyrene of any kind

  • Disposable gloves or masks

  • Balloons

  • Blister packs, pills, and tablets packaging

  • Ready meal or fresh meat and fish containers or trays

  • Compostable or biodegradable bags and wrapping

  • Plastic bottles, pots, tubs, or trays

All items should be dry, clean and free from any food.

Top Tips

  • Store your plastic bags and wrapping away in a cupboard or drawer until you’ve collected enough to put them out for your collection day or;

  • Use a second bin if you have room to gather your plastic bags and wrapping and empty it into your bag ready for collection.

FAQs

What are plastic bags and wrapping?

Plastic bags and wrapping refers to the flexible plastic packaging that typically bend easily and can include bags, pouches, sachets, removable lids/liners and wrappings. Plastic bags and wrapping are most commonly used to protect consumer goods products such as sweets, chocolates, snack foods, frozen foods, bakery, fresh produce, meat, dairy, pet food, processed foods, cosmetics, personal care, householder detergents, beverage bottle/can wrappings.

Why have you introduced a plastic bag and wrapping recycling collection service?

We’ve introduced a new trial service to help make recycling plastic bags and wrapping easier for you. Currently in the UK, only 6% of plastic bags and wrapping are recycled. Offering this service helps you and the rest of Cheltenham to recycle better, together. The trial is currently available to a small number of residents but will gradually expand to more residents over the next 2-3 years.

Why was my local authority selected for the trial?

The area of Cheltenham is representative of communities throughout the UK in terms of rurality, deprivation, geography, and recycling services and collection methods. Cheltenham Borough Council’s recycling infrastructure has the scope to incorporate plastic bags and wrapping collection and sorting into the process and they’ve shown enthusiasm in participating in the trial.

How long will the trial last?

The trial will start in October 2022 and will run until March 2025. The trial will only be available to a small number of households at the start, however over the course of the three years, it will expand to all households across the borough and district. The service will go beyond 2025 when government legislation (EPR) should provide the necessary funding for the service to continue.

Why is the trial only available to a small selection of households in the area?

The trial will run in three stages. The first stage only involves a small section of the area, however over time the service will expand to reach all households across Cheltenham. Running the trial in stages allows for the project to collect detailed insights and gain an understanding of the best methods to collect plastic bags and wrapping from homes.

Are there any other local authorities that are taking part in the trial?

There are several local authorities that have expressed interest in the trial. Their names will be announced as the project progresses. The final selection of local authorities participating in the trial aims to represent a cross-section of UK local authorities as much as possible. Can I still take my plastic bags and wrapping to front of store points to recycle? Now that a plastic bags and wrapping recycling collection trial is available from your home, you should use the kerbside service to recycle those items.

Why do I have to put plastic bags and wrapping in the collection bag? Why can’t I just put it in my plastic bags and wrapping loose in my recycling container?

The process for recycling plastic bags and wrapping is different to recycling other plastic packaging. Therefore, plastic bags and wrapping need to be grouped together so that they can be sorted effectively during the recycling process.

Can I put all types of plastic bags and wrapping in the recycling collection?

We accept all types of plastic bags and wrapping listed in this leaflet, as long as they fit inside the collection bag. Please do not put plastic bags and wrapping loose in with your other recycling. Remember to always use your collection bag and tie it securely.

Where can I order more collection bags?

Remember to order more bags before you reach the end of your supply. If you need more collection bags, please visit Cheltenham Borough Council's website.

Why doesn’t the recycling locator or Cheltenham Borough Council’s website show that they collect plastic bags and wrapping from my home?

The Recycling Locator does not include the plastic bags and wrapping recycling collection from home because the trial is currently only available to a small selection of households. At this stage of the trial, we only want those households in the trial area to put out plastic bags and wrapping for recycling from their homes. Once the availability of the service expands to more households, information will be added on to the Recycling Locator. For the moment, refer to this page or your plastic bags and wrapping leaflet for a list of what can be recycled in your area.

What is the environmental benefit of recycling plastic bags and wrapping?

Creating new products from recycled plastic provides many benefits to the environment. Almost all virgin plastic comes from fossil fuels, and the process of manufacturing plastic creates millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases every year which harms the environment. The trial will allow us to explore and gain a clear understanding of how recycling plastic bags and wrapping has an effect on carbon savings, reducing climate change and what the environmental impact is for the local community. Find out about the benefits of recycling here.

What can recycled plastic bags and wrapping be turned into?

Recycled plastic bags and wrapping can be used to make a range of new plastic products such as, plastic packaging, ‘bags for life’, boxes, bins, and agricultural and construction materials, reducing the reliance on virgin plastic. For longer term, the aim is to support turning recycled plastic bags and wrapping into plastic packaging for food, enabling the UK to create a fully circular model for using this type of plastic material.

Why aren’t plastic bags and wrapping currently widely recycled from home?

Currently only 17% of local authorities in the UK offer a collection of plastic bags and wrapping. In future years this is set to change with new regulations, but it will take time. In the UK, the aim is for all local authorities to collect plastic bags and wrapping from homes by 2027. To get to this point, we need to test the best methods for collecting, sorting and recycling plastic film. This trial is part of a wider project called FPF Flex Collect, which focuses on developing best practice and insights into the recyclability of flexible plastic bags and wrapping. You can find out more about the FPF Flex Collect project here.

Why aren’t all of the local authorities participating in the trial collecting the same types of plastic bags and wrapping?

To get a detailed understanding of the best way to collect plastic bags and wrapping from the home, the project is testing the collection of various types and combinations. To ensure that you’re putting the correct type of plastic bags and wrapping into your collection bag, please refer to the list of what can be recycled in your area.

Help spread the word by sharing this page