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Wokingham rolls out blue bags for residual waste

By 28/02/2018News

Residents in Wokingham will be provided with a year’s supply of blue bin bags for residual waste this month, as part of the council’s measures to drive up recycling rates.


Wokingham blue bag and recycling box (picture: Stewart Turkington)

Each household in the borough will receive 80 blue bags in two rolls of 40, to use for waste that cannot be recycled, to cover the period between April 2018 and March 2019.
Wokingham borough council said over five million blue bags will be delivered by the end of March. According to the council, the blue bag allocation equates to one and a half bags a week.

The council has been using the blue bag system since 2012. The waste collection and recycling service is carried out by Veolia under a 7-year contract.

Commenting on the scheme, Cllr Norman Jorgensen, executive member for environment, sports, leisure, libraries and environmental health, explained: “When we introduced limited blue bag allocations for general waste there was surge in the amount of recycling, which was our aim. We’ve encouraged this further by extending the range of materials people can recycle on our kerbside scheme – most recently pots, tubs, trays, Tetra Paks and aluminium foil.

“When we introduce food waste next year, we estimate this will add another six to seven per cent to our recycling rate. Our aim is to achieve a 50 per cent recycling target by the end of 2020. This of course benefits the environment and we can redirect saved costs into services such adult social care and education.”

Weekly waste

Cllr Norman Jorgensen has highlighted the extension of the council’s recycling service

Waste collections will continue to be on a weekly basis, along with a black box for recyclables, and the number of bags each household receives will not reduce, the council confirmed.

Last week it was reported that re3 – the waste management partnership for Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham borough councils – will now collect kerbside plastic pots, tubs and trays (PTT) after finding “new markets” to buy and process the material” (see story).

Residents can continue to recycle tins and cans, paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and aerosols. Clean foil, foil trays and food and drink cartons are now also accepted as part of the extended service.

And, the distribution of blue bags comes in conjunction with the announcement that from the April 2019, households in the area will be able to recycle their food waste. Food waste collections were approved by Wokingham borough council’s executive last month.

As part of the changes, each household will received a sealable 23 litre kerbside food waste container, along with a smaller kitchen caddies. Food waste will be collected on a weekly basis.

Food waste

Commenting on the changes, Cllr Simon Weeks, executive member for planning and enforcement, explained: “It’s estimated that as much as 30% of our landfill waste – approximately 10,000 tonnes – is food waste that can be recycled.

“Introducing a doorstep collection is not only great for the environment, but is also far more cost effective than sending it to landfill: the cost of recycling waste is around £60 per tonne compared with £170 per tonne to send it to landfill.”

Veolia will also provide the food waste service. The company’s contract has been extended beyond March 2019 for a further seven years. The new contract will see around 16 new waste vehicles to support the service.

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Source: Waste Managment