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Important changes to your recycling collection service

Introduction of a Larger Blue Bag for Cardboard and Paper

The Council is making a change to its recycling collection service.  This change will see glass, cans and plastics continuing to be collected in your blue wheelie bin, but paper and cardboard will now be collected in a new larger blue bag.

  • Glass
  • Cans
  • Plastic
  • Cardboard
  • Paper

In the next few weeks, your new blue bag will be delivered to you and left with your blue wheelie bin after it has been emptied.  We will also provide you with a leaflet to help explain these changes.

We have also provided additional information below and a list of Frequently Asked Questions.  A short video can also be viewed here showing the changes.

Should you have a question about the service that is not included below, please email environment@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk and we will respond as soon as possible.

Why are we doing this?

The Council's current contract for the processing of dry mixed recycling is due to expire.  In recent years, the recycling market has changed.  Companies in the UK and abroad that buy recycling waste are demanding higher quality materials.  Keeping paper and cardboard separate from other materials has been shown to improve quality and, importantly, reduces our processing costs.  This helps us to deliver a more efficient service.  This has enabled the Council to secure a contract at the lowest cost possible.  Ultimately, improved quality means more waste can be recycled, rather than being incinerated or sent to landfill.

Our residents are already familiar with the system of separating their paper and using the blue bag service.  Therefore, rather than providing you with an additional wheelie bin, we have chosen to keep the blue bag option to keep these changes to a minimum.  In addition, many homes do not have the space to store an extra bin.

Across the County of Staffordshire, both Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Stafford Borough Council successfully operate this type of service.  Stafford Borough Council has seen their recycling contamination rates reduce as a result, meaning fewer loads of recycling are rejected.  A number of other local authorities in Staffordshire are also making these changes.

How will it affect recycling rates?

The move to a larger blue bag for dual-stream recycling should see local recycling rates improve, as separating out paper and cardboard will prevent it from being contaminated, meaning more of it can be recycled.

The new larger blue bags are reusable and the refuse collection vehicles will continue to collect all the recycling in one go as they have separate compartments.

Will my collection day change?

This change will not affect your collection day.  The new blue bag should be presented next to your blue wheelie bin or in the top of your blue wheelie bin on your normal collection day.  You may check your collection on our website.

Those that normally have their blue bag collected with their grey bin will continue to be collected in the same way.

What will the new blue bag be like?

The new reusable blue recycling bags will be sturdy, hard wearing and should not blow around when full as they are weighted at the bottom.  They are larger than the current bags and have a lid with velcro edges which should be closed to prevent water getting in.  This helps to keep the cardboard and paper dry and retains its quality.

After our collection crews have emptied your blue bag, they will aim to place/trap it under the lid of your blue bin.  We recommend putting your house number on your blue bin and bag to help with this.  The new blue bag has a panel for you to write your address on.

We have chosen to use the blue bags for paper and card, rather than the rest of the recycling (such as glass, cans and plastics), because it is safer for our crew to carry the bags and empty them.  This also leaves the heavier items in the blue wheelie bin.

What should I put in the new blue bag?

The blue bag should be used for all your paper and cardboard that can be recycled - from cereal boxes and newspapers to envelopes and junk mail.  It should be placed in the bag loose.

Please don't add any paper or card that has food, grease or paint on it or that is wet.

You can help us to recycle more by removing any tape from packaging and folding it down so more can fit in your bag.

What if I have excess cardboard that cannot fit in the bag?

The bag will hold a lot of paper and card, and most boxes will be easy to fit in it.  If you break big boxes down into pieces, squash them, undo their seams, they will fit into the bag.  If you are unable to break big boxes down please ensure that they are flattened and securely placed at the side of the blue bag.  Alternatively they can be taken to one of the household waste sites.

What should I put in my blue wheelie bin?

The blue wheelie bin should be used for all your rinsed out glass jars and bottles (with the lids removed and placed into the blue bin separately), steel and aluminium cans, tins and foil, plastic tubs, plastic bottles with lids on and trays, empty aerosol and deodorant cans.  You should place these items loose in the bin and NOT in plastic bags.

Are there any changes to what can be accepted in the blue wheelie bin?

Yes, unfortunately we will no longer be able to accept waxed cartons including Tetra Pak (such as soup, orange juice and milk cartons).  These are very difficult to recycle as they are made from a mixture of material (such as plastic, card and foil) and have to be separated from each other through a specialist process, which is uncommon.  Some supermarkets are already moving away from this type of packaging.

We can no longer accept plastic carrier bags either, although these can be recycled at a number of local supermarkets or ideally reused.

We cannot accept nappies, polystyrene, bubble wrap, pet waste, food waste, crisp bags, sweet wrappers or food wrapping in the blue wheelie bin and these items need to be placed into your grey waste bin which is for items that cannot be recycled.

When will these changes happen?

You can start using your new blue bag as soon as it is delivered to you.  Please look out for it as it will be left with your blue wheelie bin.

Will there be any changes to flats, apartments and properties that have shared waste and recycling bins?

Yes.  These properties will also be expected to keep their cardboard and paper separate from the other recyclable material.  These properties will be provided with larger blue wheelie bins to enable residents to recycle their mixed paper and cardboard.

They should continue to place glass, cans and plastics in the existing Eurobins.

Can I order an extra blue bag?

Initially, the Council will be providing one new blue bag to each household.  Before ordering another blue bag, please try using the one that you have.  If, after a couple of collections, you find that one blue bag is not sufficient, please contact us to arrange for an additional bag to be delivered on 0800 269098 or environment@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk. We will only provide a maximum of two bags per property.

I already have an additional blue bin for recycling. Can I use this to present my cardboard and paper?

If you already have an additional blue bin, you will not be able to use it for paper and cardboard.  You may still use it for your glass, cans and plastics.

If, after the changes to the service have come into effect, you find that you no longer require this bin, please contact us and we will make arrangements to have it removed.

I no longer require an extra blue bin/my blue bin is too large

We will collect any unwanted extra blue bins on request and can also arrange for larger 360 litre blue bins to be changed back to the standard size.

Will these changes affect my assisted collection?

No.  If we currently provide you with an assisted collection because of ill-health or mobility related issues, we will continue to provide you with that service.  You do not need to contact us.

You should place your new bag next to your blue wheelie bin in your usual place, or if there is room, in the top of the wheelie bin.

Can I use plastic bags to put the recycling in?

You will not be able to use plastic bags to recycle your paper and card.  You will need to use your new recycling bag, which will be heavy duty and reusable.

Similarly, you should place your glass, cans and plastics loose in your blue wheelie bin and not in plastic bags.  We will no longer be able to accept side waste with the blue bins in clear/white bags.

What will happen if I place the wrong items in my bin or bag?

The Council's collection crews are trained to check each wheelie bin and blue bag prior to emptying it.  If they find they contain the wrong materials, it will be classed as contamination and not emptied.  In such cases, the householder is responsible for removing these items and presenting the bin or bag again on their next scheduled collection day.  The collection crew will not return on the same day. 

What will happen if I lose my bag?

On request, the Council will replace your blue bag for free.

What should I do with my existing blue bag?

Once you have received your new, larger blue bag, you can start using it immediately.  You may still keep your existing bag and use it for your own storage purposes.  However, all paper and cardboard needs to be presented in the new blue bag which has a velcro top to help keep the contents dry. 

Can I mark the blue bag with my house number?

Yes, we would encourage you to do this and there is a panel on the bag for this purpose.  We also recommend adding your house number to your wheelie bin.  This could be with a sticker or in permanent marker.  This will help our collection crew to keep your bins and bags together.

What if I find the bag heavy to move, what do I do?

The bag can either be carried or placed in the top of the wheelie bin (if there is room) to help you present it at the kerbside.  The new blue bag should be presented next to your blue wheelie bin or placed in the top of your blue wheelie bin on your normal collection day.

Where should I store the bag?

The bag is made of a flexible material that can be folded down when not in use.  The bag will be flexible enough to fit inside the recycling bin whilst both are being filled.  The bags lid should be kept closed to prevent the paper and card from getting wet.

Additional information

When we deliver your new blue bag, we will also provide you with a leaflet summarising these changes and detailing those materials that should be placed in the blue wheelie bin or the new blue bag.