Why has the recycling service changed?

    Why have we changed to the Blue Bag system?

    The new blue bag system has been introduced to improve the quality of the recycling collected in the Borough.  This change to the recycling system has been planned for a number of months, we appreciate that this is a new system to get used to but it is well used and proven in other authorities and produces great results.

    The bag is reusable and weatherproof, it is also weighted which should prevent it blowing away. Write your address on the white panel on the lid using a permanent marker.

    Why has the bag method been used?

    We needed to improve the quality of our recycling to ensure it stayed in the UK. So we considered what other places and our contractors were using to do this. The blue bag was successful in other areas. But before we could introduce it, the proposal went through the normal democratic process – that is it was a publicly available document that is examined by the council’s cabinet and then scrutinised by other councillors from across the political parties.

    I preferred the caddy, why do we need the bag?

    The caddy would not be big enough for the amount of paper and cardboard generated in the average household.  The caddy is 45 litres and the new blue bag is 72 litres. 

    In addition, the blue bag will increase capacity in the blue bin for glass, cans and plastic

    Why can’t we recycle some plastics that we could before?

    These items are no longer acceptable in the blue bin:

    • carrier or plastic bags
    • crisp bags and sweet wrappers
    • cellophane and food wrapping
    • waxed cartons
    • black plastic trays
    • plant pots 

    The above items should now be disposed of in the green bin, the contents of which are taken to Energy from Waste facilities.  No waste collected in the green bins goes to landfill and hasn’t done for over 10 years.  Please see our 'Where does it go' webpage for further information.

    These materials, which are mainly low quality plastic, are no longer wanted by manufacturers so the recycling sorting facilities cannot move the materials on.  The materials are then treated as contamination and disposed of as general waste.  When a load is rejected at the sorting facility for having too much contamination then the cost of reloading and disposing of it as waste is passed back to the Council.

    We only want to collect items that we know can be recycled in the UK and that are in demand to be turned into new products rather than being treated as waste.

    I am going to need more than one blue bag, what do I do?

    Before ordering another blue bag, please try using the one that you have – you will be surprised at the amount it can hold providing all cardboard is flattened.  If, after a couple of collections, you find that one blue bag is not sufficient please contact us to arrange for an additional bag to be delivered.

    In addition, secured extra cardboard, i.e. flat packed into another cardboard box, can be taken from beside the blue bag on collection day.

    I am finding the bag heavy to move, what do I do?

    The bag can either be carried or wheeled in the bin (if there is room) to the kerbside and then removed and placed beside the bin for collection.  If you are regularly finding that the blue bag is too heavy then an additional blue bag can be requested to spread the contents across two or more blue bags.

    I am already struggling with my bins, I will not manage with the blue bag, what do I do?

    Stafford Borough Council offer an assisted collection service for all containers if a resident is elderly, infirm or has mobility issues.  Please contact us on 01785619402 or email info@staffordbc.gov.uk.

    What if I keep putting my cardboard in the blue bin?

    Residents will not be penalised if cardboard is in the blue bin.  However the bin will not be emptied on that occasion, if the cardboard is removed by the next scheduled collection the bin will then be emptied. 

    You say it will improve recycling quality, how?

    Cardboard and paper are classed as ‘mixed fibre’ and these materials can be sent straight to UK paper mills to be recycled.  Cardboard in the blue bin is often contaminated with broken glass and, although recycled, it is to a lesser grade.  

    The cans, glass and plastic that remain in the blue bin will then be taken to a local Veolia Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where we can ensure that all materials are reprocessed in the UK.

    Further information about the destination of the contents of all bins collected in Stafford Borough can be found at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/wheredoesitgo.

    You say it will save money, how?

    It costs less per tonne to process paper and card than it does to process mixed recycling, therefore a reduced contract cost to the Council.  Greater value will also be achieved from the mixed fibre, as it is uncontaminated with other materials, which helps to reduce the contract charges further.  In addition, by recycling the right items in the blue bin means the Council will also not be recharged for contaminated loads at the Materials Recycling Facility.

    I don’t want my caddy, what can I do with it?

    If you do not have a use for the caddy around the home or in the garden, you can:

    • Ask a friend or neighbour if they have a use for it
    • Take it to the Household Waste Recycling Centres at St Albans Road, Stafford or Beacon Road, Stone and dispose of it in the hard plastic section (when they reopen)
    • The caddy can be disposed of in the green bin – the caddy cannot be recycled in the blue bin.  The contents of the green bin are taken to an Energy from Waste facility – not landfilled
    • Call our Contact Centre if you have not found a use for your caddy by the end of April and register your address for a collection. Collections cannot take place before the end of April due to current operational demands.



    Tel: 01785 619000
    Fax: 01785 619119

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