THE NEW recycling sacks will be pressed into use as they start to arrive on residents’ doorsteps.
The replacement to the borough’s black boxes is aimed at solving the problem of recycling plants no longer accepting wet waste.
With velcro used to seal the sacks, residents should be able to present dry waste for collection from their doorsteps.
It is expected that the first sacks will come to the borough around the turn of the year, with the full order completed by early February.
And as residents receive them, they will be expected to make the switch from black boxes to the new system in a bid to save money.
Wokingham Borough Council leader John Halsall said that the new bags were ordered as soon as possible after the special Executive meeting held on Friday, September 11.
They will be 40cm by 40cm by 60cm, and have 350g of rubber weights for stability. They will hold around 65 litres of recycling, compared to the black boxes, which are 55 litres. And they can hold around 3kg worth of weight.
The bags are expected to have a lifespan of at least five years and the council’s waste collection contract, currently with Veolia, will next come up for renewal in 2026. It is anticipated that work will start on a long-term solution to the borough’s recycling ready for the next procurement contract going to tender. For now, it is anticipated that the introduction of the bags will help the council avoid a £600,000 penalty for collecting wet waste.
Cllr Halsall was keen for the bags to be implemented as soon as possible as the winter months are among the wettest in the year.
He had previously said that the order had been delayed by the decision being scrutinised by councillors, a process known as a call-in, and that the council had lost its place in the queue with the manufacturer.
However, they had finally been ordered a week after the extraordinary executive meeting, and are in the process of being made.
He told Wokingham.Today: “We are doing our best to get the supply to us as soon as possible. We’re expecting delivery in late December or January and completed by early February.
“The bags are a unique design to Wokingham borough, including the velcro and the weighting.”
Cllr Halsall said that the borough needed to have a unique solution to ensure their longevity.
“It’s easy to order a bag (off-the-shelf), but they weren’t the quality we were looking for,” he explained. “We didn’t want them falling to bits the first time that it rains.
“They will be green bags and they look good.”
The council will have a quality control system in place.
“We will have samples sent to us to ensure they are a consistent quality,” Cllr Halsall said.
And as for deployment, he said: “It will be a rolling programme, as residents will get sacks, they’ll start to use them.”