A proposal to replace the existing black recycling boxes with waterproof recycling bags in Wokingham Borough was given the go ahead at last week’s special meeting of the council’s Executive committee (11 September).
Changes in the world market for recycled material have meant that wet paper and card is no longer being accepted by recycling plants – which is hurting the borough’s recycling rates and causing significant environmental and financial cost.
The switch to waterproof recycling bags will help the council maximise its recycling rate, with an aim to achieve a 70% recycling rate as part of a drive to make Wokingham a carbon neutral borough by 2030.
No other changes for residents are planned, with weekly collections alongside blue bag and food waste recycling continuing.
The waterproof recycling bags will amount to a £400,000 cost saving per year, and allow an increased capacity for every household of 20 litres per week. The council anticipates this would lead to an increase in total amount recycled in the borough by more than 1,000 tonnes.
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment, said: “We know how important recycling is to our residents – we know you want to recycle because it’s the right thing to do for the environment.
“We’ve been working on a solution to the wet paper and card problem since the issue first emerged at the end of last year. We hired independent consultants to look at all the options available to us to ensure we made the right decision for our residents.
“We are an ambitious council – we want to get to a 70% recycling rate by 2030, something no other council in the country has done yet. Solving the wet paper problem is an important piece of that puzzle. We can’t reach our target without first getting over this hurdle.
“The waterproof recycling bags have the benefit of solving the wet paper problem and having a minimal impact on our residents, allowing them to keep the great recycling and waste collection services they expect.”
For more information about recycling, visit the WBC website