A small-scale pilot of the collection of plastic bags and wrapping for recycling will be starting in Somerset next month – for invitees only.
Following the success of expanded Recycle More collections, Somerset Council successfully bid to be part of a national ‘FlexCollect’ trial of kerbside collection of these soft plastics.
The trial collections will be available to around 3,600 homes across two locations in Frome, starting near the end of May.
Those able to participate will receive information in the post shortly. No other householders, in Frome or elsewhere in the county, can participate or request to take part.
The pilot collections will pick-up a wide range of plastic bags and wrapping, including carrier bags, bread bags, confectionary wrappers, crisp packets, food wrapping and cling film.
They will be part of the usual weekly recycling collections, to be put out for collection in plastic sacks provided to participating households.
Somerset Council is committed to a greener, more sustainable county and is excited about part of the national trial which aims to establish the best way of collecting these materials and help develop the UK’s capacity to reprocess soft plastics.
The costs of the pilot collections are funded nationally. The only costs to the council are time and resources.
Depending on how the trials progress, it is expected that they will be expanded to more Somerset homes next year.
Councillor Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “This is an exciting project to be part of and it will be welcomed by many. Our recycling rate has never been higher, but Somerset wants to do more which is why we made sure we are involved at this early stage.
We think there will be a lot of enthusiasm for this, but it is important to understand that this is small scale trial. Only those who are written to directly will be able to take part.
If you do not receive information in the post, you must continue to recycle as normal and not put plastic bags and wrapping out for collection because it will not be picked-up.
Everyone able to participate in the trail will be written to twice before any change. An initial flyer will be followed by an information leaflet two weeks before the collections start, along with a supply of plastic bags that must be used to put plastic bags and wrapping out for collection.
The introduction of Recycle More collections has helped push Somerset’s recycling rate to its highest rate ever at 56.2%.
However, plastic bags and wrapping remain a difficult material to recycle. They are low quality, made of many different plastic types and there is a lack of reprocessing capacity in the UK. In 2020 they represented 22% of all UK consumer plastic packaging in 2020 but only 8% was recycled.
At present, the only way to recycle plastic bags and wrapping is at supermarket front of store collection points.
This trial will help change that by helping to make recycling plastic bags and wrapping more convenient for everyone which will increase the amount of packaging that the UK recycles.
It is part of a larger £2.9m Flexible Plastic Fund ‘FlexCollect’ project, which involves nine local authorities across England, and aims to inform government and industry on how plastic bags and wrapping should be added to existing household collection services.
For more information and news about Somerset Council’s Waste Services visit our Bins, Recycling and Waste section and follow @somersetwaste on Facebook and Twitter.