The UK’s largest flexible plastic household collection and recycling pilot, FPF FlexCollect expands into two new local authorities – Reading Borough Council and North Hertfordshire Council.
On 14 November, North Herts Council joined the pilot project, enabling over 2,200 households across Knebworth to collect and recycle flexible plastic bags, sachets, packets and wrapping as part of their regular kerbside recycling collections.
The pilot in Reading, managed in partnership with re3, began on 18 September with over 4,000 households and flats in the town centre.
With the addition of these two new local authorities, there are now seven local authorities and over 28,000 households across the UK participating in the FPF FlexCollect pilot.
Preparing for compulsory kerbside collections
In light of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement concerning ‘Simpler Recycling’, it’s even more important that local authorities understand how flexible plastics can be best integrated into current household recycling collections, and what ‘efficient and effective’ collections look like. The FPF FlexCollect pilots aim to understand the challenges of recycling flexible plastics, so they can be more easily addressed once widespread implementation starts.
FPF FlexCollect began in 2022 and will run until 2025. The project is now almost halfway through the project timeline and key findings in an interim report will shortly be released.
FPF FlexCollect continues to grow
The £3m FPF FlexCollect project has been the principal focus for the Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF) which is the majority funder, with the remaining funding coming from Defra, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge and Zero Waste Scotland. The FPF is funded and supported by the following UK organisations: Abel & Cole, Ella’s Kitchen, Kiddylicious, Koninklijke Douwe Egberts, KP Snacks, Lotus Bakeries, Mars UK, McCain Foods, Mondelēz International, Natural Balance Foods, Nestlé, Ocado Retail, PepsiCo, The Collective, Unilever, United Biscuits and Vitaflo.
The FPF FlexCollect project is co-managed by a consortium comprising the project funders, Ecosurety, RECOUP, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and WRAP.
Valuable data and insights
Gareth Morton, spokesperson for FPF FlexCollect and Discovery Manager at Ecosurety said, “It’s great to have these two latest pilots up and running as they will, along with the other pilots, generate valuable data that will help councils and industry work out how to collect, sort and recycle this challenging material.”
Councillor Amy Allen, Executive Member for Recycling & Waste, North Herts Council said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting pilot to extend what we collect from the kerbside. Although plastic bags and wrapping don’t weigh that much, they can take up lots of space in people’s bins and it’s such a shame for them not to be recycled.”
Karen Rowland, Reading Borough Council’s lead councillor for environmental services and community safety said: “There is no doubt that we are very excited to be a part of this trial and invite all selected households to participate and follow the provided instructions. This trial will help us understand how we can ultimately recycle the maximum amounts of plastic bags and wrapping by ensuring we develop the best methods of collection for all our residents.”
Find out more about FPF FlexCollect.