Taken from Wokingham Borough Council News Centre
Blue general rubbish bags will start being delivered in Wokingham Borough from 6 February (Monday). They will be dropped on doorsteps over a six-week period, with all houses receiving them by mid March.
Each house will receive a roll of 54 blue general rubbish bags, covering the period between April 2023 and March 2024. A leaflet produced by the council will be enclosed to give essential information on how to recycle more and waste less. Residents can look up the delivery date of their blue bags on the council’s website.
Food caddy liners are not being supplied to residents this year. The council announced last July that it would no longer provide free caddy liners for residents due to the significant increase in the cost of the caddy liners and because of the huge financial challenges it is facing.
For the same financial concern, the council’s decision-making Executive agreed last September to reduce the number of blue bags for each household from 80 to 54 per year.
Cllr Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport and leisure said: “The reduction of the number of blue bags has allowed our waste budget to stay as previously set, instead of having to increase by £149,000. Stopping the supply of caddy liners has avoided adding a further £120,000. These changes will obviously help make a difference to this year’s budget and allow us to focus on keeping our vital services going and supporting residents who need us during these turbulent times.”
Recycle more, waste less
“Disposing of waste costs us more than twice as much as recycling, so it’s important to recycle more and waste less. Most of our residents are already doing a great job with their recycling, but we need everyone to play their part. With these 54 blue bags, we are asking all residents to take on the ‘One Bag Challenge’ again and put out an average of one blue bag of general rubbish per week.
“It’s not difficult, really. For the vast majority of our residents, one blue rubbish bag per week will be more than enough if you put all of your recyclable items in the green recycling bags and the food waste containers. Additional green recycling bags are available, if you need more.
“We’ve found that over half of what goes in our blue bags is recyclable, with food waste being the biggest culprit, followed by paper, cardboard, soft plastic bags and others. If those things were to be put in the food waste container and green recycling bags instead of the blue rubbish bags, we could save about £1 million a year.”
Feed your caddy, don’t fill your blue bags
The council is urging residents not to stop using the food waste collection service just because it is no longer supply the food caddy liners.
Cllr Shenton continued: “We don’t want residents to stop recycling their food waste, simply because we are no longer supplying the caddy liners. We made that decision to save council taxpayers’ money, and protect our vital services.
“You can use whatever bags you happen to have at home, buy your own liners or leave the caddy unlined. All bags, including compostable ones, will be removed at the recycling plant before the food waste inside is processed, so you can choose whatever way works best for you.
“Recycling food waste has huge environmental benefits. When recycled, food waste can generate energy to power our homes. It also breaks down into a liquid fertiliser rich in nitrogen for farmers’ fields, improving the soil and helping grow crops. If food waste is put into blue bags, it will be disposed of, rot and release methane, a greenhouse gas harmful to the environment.”
Over half of what goes in the blue rubbish bags could be recycled
According to a study by re3, 57 per cent of what’s in the average blue bag is recyclable, with food waste alone taking up 24 per cent. Other recyclable materials include:
- Paper, cardboard and magazine (9 per cent)
- Soft plastics (8 per cent)
- Reusable textiles (7 per cent)
- Glass bottles and jars (5 per cent)
- Garden waste (4 per cent)
If residents need more green recycling bags, they can pop into any of the collection hubs in the borough to collect up to four bags. Alternatively, they can order them online for delivery, which may take up to 15 working days.
The council launched the ‘One Blue Bag Challenge’ in 2021, asking residents to try to reduce the amount of rubbish they put out by only using one blue bag per week. Reducing the number of blue rubbish bags given to each house is the next step in the challenge.
Residents are encouraged to sign up to the council’s fortnightly newsletter on rubbish and recycling on the council’s website to receive updates about the delivery of blue bags, changes on waste collections and useful information on waste reduction and recycling.