Information about waste plastics

What is plastic film?

Stretchy plastic items such as carrier bags, bubble wrap, vegetable and food bags, cling film, crisp packets, magazine wrappers etc are all types of plastic film. Please refer to this  plastic film leaflet [490KB]  which lists items that can and can't be recycled in the red plastic and cans recycling box.


Why won't you collect plastic film for recycling anymore?

There are limited outlets to sell plastic film and sorting it from plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays is very costly. Removal of film from our recycling will assist in maximising the council's income from all material collected thus reducing costs to the council tax payer in these difficult financial times. 

Collecting plastic film means we have to pay other companies to take and sort our plastics before it is sent for recycling. Processing the material including plastic film costs the council up to £300,000 each year depending on the prevailing market conditions.  By removing the film we should be able to sell our plastics direct to companies for recycling.


What should I do with the plastic film items?

You can reuse plastic bags and save money as these now cost 5p each to purchase. Some supermarkets will also collect used bags for recycling.

Other plastic film items should not be placed in your red plastic and cans recycling box. You can recycle the 'stretchy' plastic film (polythene) only via the larger supermarkets in-store carrier bag recycling points or at our main HWRC recycling centres. Read more information here


Can I recycle foil?

We cannot recycle shiny plastic/foil pouches such as those used for pet food or shiny plastic films like crisp packets and biscuit wrappers.  We can recycle aluminium foil but not the plastic types. 

A good way to tell the difference is the "scrunch test".  Aluminium foil will scrunch up into a ball and stay scrunched, where as things like crisp packets made from plastic will spring back and not stay 'scrunched'.


Can I put plant pots in my red box?

No, unfortunately plastic plant pots are not one of the plastics we are able to take at the kerb side. They should be reused where possible or added to your wheeled bin or purple sacks.


I currently collect all my plastic containers in a bag in a kitchen bin and then put the bag in my red box for collection.  Is this OK?

No, it is important that the containers are put in the box loose as the bag itself is classed as contamination.  If you use the net provided there shouldn't be any problems of plastic blowing out of the box. If you need a new net or additional box for plastics please go to: Get new bins or bags on our website or call 0345 602 7035.


What happens if I put something in one of the recycling boxes that shouldn't be there?

If you do add something to your recycling box that shouldn't be there, such as a crisp packet (that can't be recycled), we will leave it behind in the box with a note attached explaining why we haven't taken it - this way you'll know what to do with it next time.


Why hasn't my plastic and cans recycling box been emptied?

Boxes containing plastic film will not be emptied and will be left at the kerbside for you to remove the plastic film and put the correct items out for collection on their next scheduled collection.  A short leaflet detailing what items can and can't be recycled in the plastic and cans box will be left along with an explanation why we haven't taken it.

If your box is already full with items that can be recycled, you can take any additional items to be recycled at a community recycling site or household waste recycling centre. You can also request additional boxes.  Plastic film items that we no longer collect should be placed in your wheeled bin or purple sacks.


Why should I recycle? I've heard it all ends up in landfill

The council sends all of what you put out for recycling each week to recycling facilities.  The only material that will ever be disposed of will be contaminants. In 2015/16, Powys recycled nearly 59% of its waste.


So, will we be getting less of a service than in the past?

We are providing far more collections than we used to. Back in 2005, the council would collect one type of waste from every household once a week.

Now the council collects:

  • Plastic and cans, paper and card and glass recycling boxes every week
  • Food waste kerbside caddy every week
  • As well as the left over 'non-recyclable' rubbish in your wheeled bin or purple sacks every three weeks.


Can I get a larger wheeled bin to store my rubbish?

Some households may be eligible for a bigger bin, such as a large family with six or more people.

Families with two or more children in nappies are also eligible for a large wheeled bin (240 litre).

Households that have a smaller wheeled bin (120l) will be able to request a standard (180 litre) wheeled bin or by calling the council.

 Get new bins or bags Get new bins or bags 


How do I request additional recycling boxes?

If you find that you repeatedly have more recycling that can fit into your containers, maybe because you have a large family, you can request additional recycling boxes by visiting Get new bins or bags.


Why can plastic film from farms be recycled but not households?

Agricultural plastics are disposed of at a cost to the farmer and are dealt with by specialist companies. 


Other council's collect all their recyclables together from one bin and sort it at a facility which seems to be a better way of doing it for the public?

The Welsh Government's collection blueprint states that the preferred method of recycling is to separate the recycling at source (at the household).  It states this is the most effective way of providing the maximum benefit to the Welsh economy. This results in high quality recyclate, significant cost savings and improved sustainable development outcomes. The council adopted this approach when it introduced the kerbside recycling scheme which has been rolled out across the county over the last few years.


The council has statutory targets to reach with fines for failing to meet them.  Will this not just make it harder?

All national and European recycling targets are weight-based, meaning plastic film is a small element of the total waste collected from households and hence has only a small impact on recycling rates. 


Shouldn't the council be lobbying supermarkets and junk mail companies to reduce the amount of film that they use and thus prevent the problem in the first place?

This is more of a role for the Welsh Government who have taken steps such as the introduction of the 5p charge for carrier bags.  This has seen a 71% decrease (between 2011 and 2014) in the amount of single use bags


Why doesn't the council recycle more materials at the kerbside?

We are committed to providing the most efficient and cost-effective service to residents. As part of this, we need to consider which materials offer the best value to collect. Our service allows for the recycling of up to 70% of the waste typically produced by households. While some additional materials, like plastic film, could be recycled, this would cost a lot for a limited benefit and would be uneconomical to do so.

When a product such as crisp packets is made, the manufacturers often use lots of different materials. This makes it very difficult to find processors that can recycle these products efficiently and cost effectively.

The materials collected at the kerbside are limited by the number of compartments on the recycling vehicles. The council collects plastics and cans, paper and card, glass and food waste recycling which are the most frequently produced items by households. A range of materials such as textiles, grass cuttings and large cardboard items can be recycled at community recycling sites. Larger items such as washing machines and furniture, as well as low energy or florescent light bulbs, car tyres can be taken to a household waste recycling centre.


Why don't I have a red recycling box for plastics and cans?

There may be some households that have a different coloured recycling box for plastics and cans which was issued by a previous provider.  When the council took over the collection in these areas, these boxes should have a red sticker on the side which provides the same information as on the Powys red boxes and many of these boxes have been replaced. 



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