• /

Pilot will inform how to incorporate flexibles into existing collection services

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Cheltenham and South Gloucestershire are the first local authorities to agree to trial kerbside collections of flexible plastic packaging under the Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF) FlexCollect project.

Cheltenham Borough Council already launched trial collections on 7 October 2022 while the South Gloucestershire pilot collections will begin on 17 October 2022 with approximately 2,000 selected households from parts of Bradley Stoke, Chipping Sodbury, Alveston and Olveston, providing them with greater accessibility for the collection and recycling of their flexible plastics.

Launched last May, FPF FlexCollect is the most extensive pilot for household collection and recycling of flexible packaging to be undertaken in the UK. Up to nine councils are to participate voluntarily in the three-year project.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cheltenham and South Gloucestershire as our first pilot local authorities. This is a truly collaborative endeavour by a wide partnership of organisations with a critical interest in the outcomes, and we’re looking forward to working closely with everyone over the next three years to build an understanding of how the UK is going to, not only collect but also recycle flexible plastic packaging once EPR is introduced” said Gareth Morton, Ecosurety’s lead for the project.

A pioneer phase to kick off

The project will run in two phases. South Gloucestershire Council and Cheltenham Borough Council are now part of the pioneer phase which involves a series of innovative flexible plastics household collection and recycling pilots across four local authorities. The second phase will see five more local authorities joining the project in 2023 to build on the gained knowledge.

Collaborative effort

The FPF FlexCollect project is co-funded by the Flexible Plastic Fund, Defra, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP), RECOUP and Zero Waste Scotland. The pilot is delivered by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK, Ecosurety, WRAP and RECOUP.

Trudy Harrison, Resources and Waste Minister, said: “We know consumers want to do the right thing and these two local authorities are leading the way in ensuring more plastic film and flexible packaging is recycled. “This innovative project will provide valuable evidence to support our proposals to roll out nationwide collections of plastic film from all households and businesses.

“This builds on our plans for major waste reforms which will boost recycling rates and create jobs in the waste management sector – driving real sustainable growth for the economy.”

Thomas Merry, Technical Development Manager for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, the project managers for FPF FlexCollect, said: “A great deal of work by all partners has gone into getting these first collections off the ground in Cheltenham and South Gloucestershire and we’re delighted to see local residents embracing the opportunity to recycle more of their plastic packaging.

“Whilst Government finalises the detail of its waste reforms, the pilot is gathering valuable insights that will ease the way for the widespread roll out of collections of flexible plastic packaging, which will not only help to increase our recycling rate but also help to decarbonise our residual waste.”