New blue recycling bags coming to every Bristol home

August 05 2019
New blue recycling bags coming to every Bristol home

EVERY Bristol home is to get an extra recycling container – a big blue bag for cardboard, cartons and brown paper.

The 90-litre sacks are set to be delivered later this year and the council says they will double the capacity for recyclable materials to be left out for collection.

Residents will be expected to put the blue bags out with their green and black recycling boxes, which are collected every week.

A spokeswoman for Bristol Waste said: “We know cardboard can be bulky and take up a lot of space in the recycling boxes. We hope the bag will help residents recycle more, saving the city money, increasing recycling and reducing our impact on the environment.”

The citywide roll-out follows a trial run in Stockwood earlier this year, and is among a raft of measures planned by the city council to reduce household waste and improve recycling.

Other measures in the pipeline include the removal of any extra black wheelie bins from households with more than the one permitted by council policy, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Bristol is introducing sacks for cardboard at the same time neighbouring South Gloucestershire is phasing them out in favour of more boxes for recycling.

Each blue sack will come with new stickers for the green and black recycling boxes detailing what items should go in each.

And new teams of “waste doctors” will make home visits to residents who do not sort their recycling properly.

Council officials believe the planned changes, most of which are due to be signed off by the ruling Labour cabinet next month, will encourage more residents to recycle.

But some councillors have called for a “tougher” approach, suggesting enforcement will be needed to make everyone do their bit to cut the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

Members of Bristol City Council’s communities scrutiny commission have called for the council to be given enforcement powers to make people recycle properly, after hearing that more than 50 per cent of rubbish in black wheelie bins could be recycled. They said its current strategy depended on "being nice to people" and persuading them to recycle.

Bristol Waste managing director Tony Lawless said the council had to "educate" people who do not recycle properly.

But Labour councillor Jo Sergeant said the city had a problem with the waste produced by temporary residents in shared flats or “houses of multiple occupation”, who were "not staying around long enough to be educated”.

Labour councillor Don Alexander said he thought the council would need to “coordinate with neighbourhood enforcement” to tackle the “five per cent” of people who don’t recycle.

Ken Lawson, strategic waste client manager, said: “We’re doubling the capacity of recycling by offering the blue sack.

The bins are about 45 litres each. We’ll be giving them a 90-litre blue sack, which will mean that people should be able to reduce the amount they put in their residual bin and increase the recycling.”


The local authority is aiming to reduce the amount of residual household rubbish each person creates per year from 200kg to 150kg by 2025.


It also wants to cut the amount of waste sent to landfill from 15 per cent to less than five per cent by 2030.


Its target for recycling, re-use and composting is 50 per cent by 2020.


A spokeswoman for Bristol Waste said nearly 3,000 extra tonnes of Bristol’s cardboard could have been recycled last year, saving 51,000 trees, 21million gallons of water and 12million kilowatts of electricity.


We believe that the cost of the bag for cardboard will be offset within two years through the increased amount of recycling material captured and reduced costs of residual waste disposal,” she said.


She said she was unable to divulge the cost of the blue bags as it was “commercially sensitive” information.


Officials are also set to crack down on households that have more than one black wheelie bin.


Each home is allowed a single wheelie bin unless there are exceptional circumstances, but some residents have managed to get more than Bristol City Council policy permits.


Now, in a bid to cut down the amount of household rubbish that ends up in landfill, the council is planning to track down any extra black wheelie bins and remove them.


Council officer Ken Lawson said: “We’ve got a policy of one bin per person and actually over successive years people have managed to get more than that. So we need to go out and manage that tightly to make sure that we keep the benchmark at one bin, fortnightly collection and really push recycling.”


Residents would be given the opportunity to ask to keep any extra black wheelie bins, according to information in the presentation.


A council spokesman said: “We have records of how many bins each household has been given, so we will make contact with them to ensure they are not one of the exceptions.”


By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service