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

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South Gloucestershire Council

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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?

From 17 October 2022 your plastic bags and wrapping will be collected weekly on the same day as your normal recycling service. Recycling your plastic bags and wrapping is simple. Find out what to do below.

How to recycle your plastic bags and wrapping from home

  1. 1

    Place your plastic bags and wrapping into the collection bags provided by South Gloucestershire Council.

  2. 2

    Tie the bag securely and place it in one of your green 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 you can 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

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

  • Cheese, fish, and meat wrapping

  • Pouches, sachets, and packets – microwaveable food, cosmetics, detergent, and cleaning pouches (not baby food or pet pouches)

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

  • Bubble wrap and cling film

  • Fruit and vegetable net bags

What you can't include

  • Items other than plastic bags and wrapping of any kind

  • Baby food and pet food pouches, sachets, and packets

  • Compostable or biodegradable bags and wrapping

  • Plastic bottles, pots, tubs, or trays

  • Crisp tubes

  • Ready meal or fresh meat and fish containers or trays

  • Blister packs, pills, and tablets packaging

  • Balloons

  • Disposable gloves or masks

  • Foam or polystyrene of any kind

  • Plastic straws or cutlery

All items should be clean and free of food.

Monitoring the trial

To gain the best understanding of the effectiveness of the trial, South Gloucestershire Council will analyse the types of plastic bags and wrapping collected from the households participating in the trial. The results will be important in helping South Gloucestershire Council understand how the plastic bags and wrapping recycling service can be expanded to more households and whether any improvements need to be made. For more information, please contact [email protected].

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 South Gloucestershire to recycle better, together. The trial is currently available to a small number of residents, but it will gradually expand to more residents over the next 2-3 years.

Why was my local authority selected for the trial?

The area of South Gloucestershire is representative of communities throughout the UK in terms of rurality, deprivation, geography, and recycling services and collection methods. South Gloucestershire Council’s recycling service 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, we intend to expand to all households across the district. The service will go beyond 2025 when proposed government legislation should provide the necessary funding for the plastic bags and wrapping collection service to continue.

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. You can still take items we can’t accept to stores for recycling.

Why do I have to put plastic bags and wrapping in the collection bag? Why can’t I just put 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, 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 one of the collection bags provided. Tie the bag securely and place it in one of your existing recycling containers (green boxes).

Why doesn’t the recycling locator 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.

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 contact [email protected]

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.

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 the 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 this type of plastic material. Although the intention is for plastic bags and wrapping to be recycled in the UK, where issues arise such as the current recycling facilities not being able to accept the material, because it either has too many of the wrong things put in with the plastic bags and wrapping, or there is more than they can process, there may be occasions that it is sent to an alternative recycling facility in Europe, or as a last resort used as a fuel to generate electricity.

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.

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