Blue bag recycling information

To make sure more of our waste is recycled, we are changing the way we collect and dispose of recycling.

The change will see glass, cans and plastics continue to be collected in the current blue bins, and paper and card collected in new blue bags from April 2022.

We will send out more details in the coming months. In the meantime here is more information about the upcoming changes. 

If you have a question that isn't answered below, please email our shared waste service.

Reason for decision

Our contract with Biffa Waste for the disposal of dry mixed recycling comes to an end in March 2022. The waste disposal market has changed and companies in the UK and abroad that buy recycling waste now demand much higher quality materials.

Disposing of dry mixed recycling in one bin creates higher levels of contaminated waste, which means from now on it would cost us much more to dispose of waste in this way.

Dual-stream recycling, which sees paper and card recycled separately, increases the quality of the recycling collected and is more affordable to dispose of. The improved quality ultimately means more waste can be recycled, rather than being incinerated or sent to landfill.

We have chosen to go with the blue bag option as many local homes do not have the space for an extra bin.
Locally both Newcastle and Stafford have made the change and the system is working well. Stafford Borough Council has seen recycling contamination rates reduce as a result, meaning fewer loads of recycling are rejected. We also understand other local authorities in Staffordshire are intending to make this move along with us.

Recycling rates and green credentials

The move to dual-stream recycling should see local recycling rates improve, as separating out paper and card will prevent it from being contaminated, meaning more of it can be recycled.

The new blue bags will be reusable and the trucks will collect all the recycling in one go as they have separate compartments. We lease our trucks, so this change has been factored into the contract.

Recycling collection dates

We will empty blue bins and bags at the same time. We will use vehicles that have separate compartments for paper and card and will collect both blue bags and bins at the same time. 

Recycling rounds

There is a possibility a small number of areas will move to a new waste collection day. This will help us to complete all our rounds. We will send information directly to any local homes this affects.

New recycling trucks

We will be leasing new recycling trucks that have a separate compartment for paper and card. They will be diesel vehicles.

New service costs

Moving to dual-stream recycling will increase the cost of providing the service, although it would also have cost much more to keep the service as it was. It will not affect the council tax you pay.

Staffordshire County Council will cover half the extra costs and the rest will be met by Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council who work together to provide the joint waste service across both local authority areas..

Blue bag description

The new reusable blue recycling bags will be sturdy, hard wearing and should not blow around when full. They will also most likely have a flap over the top. Crews will aim to place/trap them under the lid of your blue bin once both bin and bag have been emptied. We recommend putting your house number on your blue bin and blue bag to help with this.

As we haven't sourced the blue bags yet, we do not know if they will be made out of recycled material, or if they can recycled once they have reached the end of their life.

We have chosen to use the blue bags for paper and card, rather than the rest of the recycling (such as glass, cans and plastic), because it is safer for our crew to carry the bags and empty them. If glass were in the bags it could break and be very heavy, which is why the heavier items will remain in the blue bins.

Blue bag: what to put in it

All your paper and card that can be recycled – from cereal boxes and newspapers to envelopes and junk mail. Shredded paper should be placed in a cardboard box or paper bag to minimise risk of litter. 

Please don’t add any paper or card that has food, grease or paint on it.

You can help us to recycle more by removing any tape from packaging and folding it down so more can fit in your bag.

Blue bin: what to put in it

All your rinsed out glass jars and bottles, aluminium cans and foil, plastic tubs and bottles, clean and empty plastic bags, waxed cartons including Tetrapak (such as soup, juice and milk), aerosol cans and roll-ons.

Start date

Lichfield District residents will start using their new blue bags to recycle their paper and card from April 2022.

Tamworth Borough residents will start using their new blue bags to recycle their paper and card from May 2022.

We will give you more information about this nearer the time.

Rural properties

Some rural homes will receive a wheelie bin. This will be in a different colour to avoid confusion. The frequency of collections will also be different for these households. We will give you more information nearer the time.

Communal bins

We will be carrying out assessments on all the communal properties to plan the best way forward for them.

Ordering an extra blue bag

If one bag is not enough to fit your fortnightly amount of paper and card recycling you can order another bag for free. 

Extra blue bin recycling

If you already have an extra blue bin, unfortunately you will not be able to use it for paper or card once we move over to the new system. You will need to use it for all remaining recycling or ask us to take it back. 

The reason for using the current extra blue bins for paper and card is that we need to have a standard service for our bin crews who work at speed. Having a mix of blue bins that have different materials in would likely destabilise the rounds and could lead to mistakes happening and recycling loads being contaminated with the wrong waste.

We also need people to put the right items in the right container and having two blue bins could lead to confusion.

Unwanted extra blue bin/s

We will collect any unwanted extra blue bins on request.

Plastic bags

You will not be able to use plastic bags to recycle your paper and card. You will need to use your new recycling bag, which will be heavy duty and reusable.

Refusal to separate waste

If you mix all your recycling into your blue bin or bag we will be unable to empty it.

Lost blue bags

We will replace your blue bag on request for free.

Number your bins and bags

We recommend adding your house number to your blue bag and all your wheelie bins. This could be with a sticker or in permanent marker.

More information

We will launch a high profile campaign to help our residents prepare for the change in the way they recycle. This will include sending every household information about it nearer the time.