Plastic bags and wrapping recycling trial

We are running a trial for the recycling service for plastic bags and wrapping in Reading. We have chosen a sample group of streets to carry out the trial. These streets will get their plastic bags and wrapping collected as part of their normal recycling collection.

Streets included in the trial group.

How to recycle your plastic bags and wrapping at home

  • Place only your plastic bags and wrapping in the blue collection bag. Tie it securely and place it inside and at the top of your recycling bin.
  • What plastic bags and wrapping can be included in the collection:
    • all plastic bags – carrier bags, salad/fruit/vegetable, frozen food, bread, cereal, flowers
    • confectionary wrappers – chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cakes, ice cream and chewing gum wrappers
    • foil-lined packaging – crisp packets, snack packets and coffee bags
    • plastic film and sleeves – removable film lids, plastic sleeves for bottles and jars
    • bubble wrap and cling film
    • fruit and vegetable net bags
    • cheese, fish and meat wrapping
    • outer layer bags and wrapping – multipack toilet and kitchen roll, magazine and newspaper wrapping

All items should be dry, clean and free from any food.

Top tip – keep your plastic bags and wrapping until you’ve collected a full bag before putting them in your recycling bin.

What not to include

  • All pouches, sachets, and packets – microwaveable food, baby food, pet food, cosmetics, detergent and cleaning
  • Crisp tubes
  • Plastic straws or cutlery
  • Foam or polystyrene of any kind
  • Disposable gloves or masks
  • Balloons
  • Blister packs, pills, and tablets packaging
  • Compostable or biodegradable bags and wrapping
  • Plastic bottles, pots, tubs, or trays*
  • Ready meal or fresh meat and fish containers or trays*

*You can still recycle these items by placing them loose in your recycling.

How to order more collection bags

Remember to order more bags before you reach the end of your supply. It may take 2 to 4 weeks for the bags to be delivered. Please only use the blue collection bags provided and not any other bag.

Find our more information below or on the Recycle Now website.

Complete the survey

To help us learn as much as possible during this trial, we kindly ask you to complete a short survey. Your valuable feedback will help us refine and improve our services for the benefit of the entire community.

Keep in touch

To keep you motivated, we will be sharing some statistics and tips on a specifically created social group on Facebook – if you are interested, please join it here.          

Frequently asked questions

What are plastic bags and wrapping?
Plastic bags and wrapping refers to flexible plastic packaging that typically bends easily and can include bags, removable lids/liners (yoghurt pot lids) and wrappings. Plastic bags and wrapping are most commonly used to protect products such as sweets/chocolates, snack foods, frozen foods, bakery, fresh produce, meat, dairy, processed foods, cosmetics, personal care, household detergents, beverage bottle/can wrappings.
Who funds this trial and how long will it last?
The trial is funded by Flexible Plastic Fund and the UK Government and is currently available to selected local authorities and a small number of re3 households. If the re3 project is successful in 2023, it will gradually expand to more households across Reading, as well as Bracknell Forest. The trial will run until March 2025, but we are hopeful the service will continue beyond 2025 when government legislation should provide the necessary funding.
Why do I have to put plastic bags and wrapping in the collection bag? Why can’t I just put it loose in my recycling bin?
All collected recycling, including your plastic bags and wrapping will be taken to the Material Recycling Facility in Reading. The process of sorting plastic bags and wrapping is different to recycling other recyclables such as: plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, metal, card and paper packaging. Plastic bags and wrapping will have to be sorted manually, therefore they need to be grouped together in the blue bag provided so they can be effectively sorted from other recyclables. For this reason, it is important that the bag is tied securely with a double knot.
Can I put all types of plastic bags and wrapping in the recycling collection?
We accept all types of plastic bags and wrapping listed above, so long as they fit inside the blue collection bag. Please do not put plastic bags and wrapping loose in with your other recycling. Remember to always use your blue collection bag and tie it securely. If you need to, you can use more than one bag per collection.
What is the environmental benefit of recycling plastic bags and wrapping?

Creating new products from recycled plastic provides many benefits to the environment. Almost all virgin plastic (plastic that has never been recycled) comes from fossil fuels, and the process of manufacturing plastic creates millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases every year which harms the environment.

The trial will allow us to explore and gain a clear understanding of how recycling plastic bags and wrapping has an effect on carbon savings, reducing climate change and what the environmental impact is for the local community.

What can recycled plastic bags and wrapping be turned into?
Recycled plastic bags and wrapping can be used to make a range of new plastic products such as, plastic packaging, ‘bags for life’, boxes, bins, and agricultural and construction materials, reducing the reliance on virgin plastic. For longer term, the aim is to support turning recycled plastic bags and wrapping into plastic packaging for food, enabling the UK to create a fully circular model for using this type of plastic material.
Can I still take my plastic bags and wrapping to front of store points to recycle?
Now that a plastic bags and wrapping recycling collection trial is available from your home, you should use the kerbside service to recycle those items.
Where can I order more collection bags?
Remember to order more bags before you reach the end of your supply. It may take 2 to 4 weeks for the bags to be delivered. If you need more collection bags, please use the available order form. Only use the blue collection bags provided and not any other bag. Bags are only available to households in the trial area and who have been sent a letter and leaflets. Please don’t share your blue bags with your friends and family as we will not be able to process their waste.
Last updated on 19/03/2024