North Herts Council in England, UK, has announced the expansion of its plastic bags and wrapping recycling trial to more than 6,000 homes in the region.  

This follows a successful initial phase in Knebworth, where residents have been using blue bags for recycling various plastic materials such as confectionery wrappers, foil-lined packaging, plastic film and others since November last year. 

The trial, which started with approximately 2,200 properties, will now include an additional 6,250 homes from July, bringing the total to roughly 8,500 properties. 

The council’s cabinet agreed to the expansion on 19 March 2024, with the aim of eventually rolling out the scheme district-wide as part of a new waste contract activating in 2025.  

Households in the new expansion area will receive detailed information on the scheme, including acceptable materials and collection procedures.  

North Herts Council executive member for Recycling & Waste and councillor Amy Allen said: “It’s been great to see the blue bags lining the streets of Knebworth, and it’s fantastic that we are now able to expand it to other areas in the district.  

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“The exact area for the expansion has not yet been finalised, but is unlikely to fit neatly into geographic ward boundaries, as that’s not how our collection rounds work.” 

The pilot, part of the £2.9m ($3.65m) Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF) ‘FlexCollect’ project, which is funded by the FPF, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, UK Research & Innovation’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge delivered by Innovate UK, and Zero Waste Scotland. 

The initiative seeks to address the challenges of recycling plastic bags and wrapping, materials that are currently only formally recyclable through supermarket collection points in the country.