Plastic recycling project to expand to 35,000 homes

FlexCollect project, which collects plastic bags and wrappings, expanded after initial success.
A person in a black, long sleeved top lifts out their bin caddy and places a blue bag full of plastic into their blue recycling bin.

Newcastle City Council launched the initial trial in June 2023 with 5,036 properties in east side of the city.

Around two in five households use the service and to date so far we have collected over 51,000 bags of flexible plastic packaging for recycling. 

The current levels of participation by residents are in line with the other eight councils in the pilot, showing that demand for the service is high, even in a densely populated city such as Newcastle. 

The manufacture and processing of plastic packaging has a high carbon impact, and this latest project contributes to the council’s key priority of becoming a net zero city. 

Cllr Marion Williams, Cabinet Member for a Sustainable City, Newcastle City Council said: “We committed to hitting our net zero targets as one of the three core priorities for the city.  

"We are pleased with the results of the initial trial and hope this expansion will encourage more residents to recycle their flexible plastic packaging. 

"It is key that we support these initiatives to play our part in creating a cleaner, greener environment for the future.”

Finding new ways of collecting more plastic

Nationally, plastic bags and wrapping makes up around 25 percent of all UK consumer packaging, but less than 10 percent is currently recycled.

The £3.6m FlexCollect project, funded by the Flexible Plastic Fund and UK Government, is being used to understand how plastic bags and wrapping can be reliably collected in a way that has a minimal impact on residents and collection services. 

The results of the trial will also provide valuable feedback to help with the future development of the recycling infrastructure needed to process this material.