A small number of households are part of a trial for a new type of recycling container.

The trial will see residents’ black boxes (used for cardboard and paper collections) replaced with a black bag.

Although the trial does not include every household, it is being trialled across different areas in Somerset.

Why change the box?

We regularly review the way we work to see if there are better ways of doing things and make sure we are making the best use of public money.

The Bright Blue Bag introduced as part of our Recycle More collections has worked well and we would like to see how a bag works for the collection of paper and card.

If we were to make the switch it is expected to save the Council more than £60,000 a year.

At the end of the trial, we will decide whether to switch to black bags for paper and card or stick with the current boxes.

If we switch, homes in the trial areas will keep the black bag and black bags will be issued whenever a Somerset household requests a new or replacement paper and card recycling container.

If we decide not to make the change, black boxes will be returned and the black bag taken away.

Questions about the black bag trial

Why are you taking away my black box?

Your box has been taken away to encourage the use of the bag. We believe the bag will be a suitable replacement, but ask residents part of the trial to provide feedback.

Why do you need to change?

It is important that public money is spent responsibly. If the trial is successful, it is estimated that issuing a bag rather than a box (when a replacement is requested), would save the council £60,000 a year.

Why was my area chosen for the trial?

Three rounds have been chosen, which represent different areas of Somerset. We want to make sure that the bag works for everyone so both urban, rural areas are part of the trial.

Will the bag blow away?

The introduction of the Bright Blue bag as part of Recycle More has provided evidence that this style of container does work for residents. The black bag will have a rubber weight in the base to stop it blowing away.

Isn’t this a waste of a black box?

Apart from those in the trial, black boxes will only be removed and replaced if/when requested by a resident. When black boxes are removed they are sent for recycling.

Won’t it cost more money to replace the boxes?

Current stocks of black boxes will be used up before black bags are rolled out. Residents will only receive a bag when a new container is requested. Using bags instead of boxes will likely save £60,000 a year.

How do I feedback?

If you are part of the trial you will receive a letter with a link to a survey.

What’s the bag made from? Is it sustainable and recyclable?

The bag is made from plastic webbing with a rubber base. The bag is recyclable and contains 30% recycled content.

What can I put in the black bag?

The black bag should be used as you would the black box. Please put cardboard (flattened) and paper in the bag, please separate where possible.

Will my black box be returned?

If your box was removed as part of the trial, and the trial is successful you will not get it back. If the trial is unsuccessful your box will be returned. The box will be recycled or redistributed.

How long will the trial last?

The trial will last six weeks and we will ask you for your feedback at the end of the trial.

Why is another area of the same town not in the trial?

Only certain rounds have been chosen for the trial. Some towns will have multiple rounds

What happens after the trial ends?

Residents are invited to share their feedback via a survey. We will consider feedback from both residents and crew members before a decision is made.

If the trial is successful, then when a resident requests a replacement black box they will receive the bag instead. Stocks of boxes will be used up first.

If not successful, then nothing will change and residents will have their box returned.

Last reviewed: February 5, 2024 by Neil

Next review due: August 5, 2024

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