New recycling calendar and changes agreed

PUBLISHED: 14 March 2019

Colchester Borough Council is sending out the new 2019/20 Recycling Calendar to residents across the borough with their annual Council Tax bill and has also agreed two changes to the recycling service which will be introduced over the coming months.


Residents who have signed up for paperless bills, will receive their 2019-20 recycling calendar electronically, whilst other households with a kerbside collection will receive a paper copy printed on recycled paper and using vegetable oil based inks, with audio and braille copies available on request.


The calendar sets out the schedule of all collections between 1 April 2019 and the end of March 2020, including collections over the Christmas and New Year period.


The calendar also provides tips and advice on what items can and can't be recycled, including food waste, paper/cardboard, plastics, textiles, glass, cans and tins and garden waste, alongside which container or bag to use and residents are asked to familiarise themselves with this information.

Following a decision at Colchester Borough Council’s Cabinet meeting on 13 March, two further changes to the Council’s recycling service will now also be introduced in the coming months.

The first of the changes agreed is to introduce a downloadable voucher system for all replacement recycling containers, not just garden waste sacks from May 2019.

The second change agreed at last night’s Cabinet is that residents will now be asked to put any plastic bags, film and wraps in their black bins/bags rather than their recycling. The reason being that zero demand exists for these plastics and they also cannot be recycled. The majority of councils do not collect these plastics with other recycling and market conditions dictates what can be recycled. These items are also not accepted at Essex County Council’s Recycling Centres in the borough at Shrub End and West Mersea. Colchester Borough Council is also urging retailers and producers to stop manufacturing these kinds of plastics and use alternatives.

Many of these items are single-use plastics where more sustainable alternatives such as reusable bags and containers are available. Last year the Council launched its Colchester Plastic Pledge campaign to encourage residents and local businesses to be more plastic aware and commit to reducing their use/supply of single-use plastics which are damaging to the environment. The Council is continuing to actively reach out to and work with local organisations to encourage them to offer residents and their customers, reusable and more environmentally friendly alternatives to single-use plastics.

The three black bag limit for households will not be increased as a result of these change as these types of plastics will not add any significant extra volume to household rubbish. Based on current collections in the borough, calculations show that on average households will have an extra 8 grams of material for each black bag/bin per collection which is less than the weight of a tablespoon of sugar. Clear recycling bags containing any of these plastic items will still be collected but with the residents knowledge that these will be removed and sent to landfill rather than recycled.

Councillor Martin Goss, Colchester Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: "We really appreciate the effort that residents put in to recycling and the fact that the borough had the third largest increase in household recycling rates in 2017-18 in England, demonstrates that.

“We’re still committed to recycling as much as possible in the borough but it’s important that we’re honest with residents about what can and cannot be recycled. Over the coming months we will educating residents and organisations about what plastic items can no longer be recycled, suggesting more sustainable replacements for these and continuing to promote the reduction of single-use plastics.”

Residents can also visit to download their recycling calendar, look up their collection day, find out whether they are on a Blue or Green Week, what should go out that week and what can and can't be recycled and report a missed collection.



Notes to Editors:

Common examples of plastic bags, film and wraps items that can no longer be recycled and should go in your black bin/bag for collection are listed below:

Plastic bags – common examples include:

      • Shopping carrier bags
      • Bread bags
      • Sandwich and freezer bags
      • Salad bags
      • Loose fruit and vegetable bags from retailers

Plastic film – common examples include:

      • Cling film
      • Thin film from the top of packaging on products like ready meals, meat slices, fruit punnets

Plastic wrapping – common examples include flexible wrapping from:

        • Kitchen rolls
        • Toilet rolls
        • Biscuit packets
        • Sweet and chocolate wrappers
        • Multiple cans and bottles
        • Mulitpacks of crisps
        • Magazines/brochures etc sent in the post.

For a list of what plastic items can and cannot go in your plastic recycling collections in Colchester, please check our webpage here or your recycling calendar.

Page last reviewed: 14 March 2019


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