Waterproof bags to improve recycling rates

Proposals to replace black boxes with sealable waterproof bags for recycling in Wokingham Borough have taken the next step forward.

The council’s overview and scrutiny committee met on Wednesday (26 August) and upheld the decision of the executive made on 30 July to set aside funding for the proposed sealable, weighted bags – which if implemented will help the council to achieve its 70 per cent recycling target by 2030.

Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment, said: “We’re pleased the committee agreed with the executive’s decision to set aside funding for a solution to wet paper and card in Wokingham Borough. 

“We know our residents want us to enable them to recycle as much as possible and we believe this small change will allow this to happen.

“The council’s executive will be presented with more details on the proposals next month, including cost savings and the environmental benefits, before a final agreement on the bags is made. We will continue to inform residents on how these will be introduced going forward if an agreement is reached.”

The council’s executive committee will meet next month to consider the next steps for the proposed option in more detail to keep residents' paper and card dry and will be presented with papers to show how these waterproof bags would create a £400,000 cost saving in a full year, give the potential timelines for rollout, and set out the costs.

The waterproof bags, if implemented, would allow an increased capacity for every household by 20 litres per week and the council anticipates this would lead to an increased in total amount recycled in the borough by more than 1,000 tonnes.