Around 24,000 households in South Gloucestershire are now part of a trial to have a kerbside collection of soft plastics, also called flexible plastics.

Soft plastics include:

  • all kinds of plastic bags and wrappings
  • pouches*
  • sachets
  • removable lids or liners

*pet food and baby food pouches are excluded from the collection trial

This type of material is commonly used by the consumer retail industry to protect and preserve things like sweets or chocolates, snack foods, frozen or fresh produce, cosmetics, personal care or cleaning products.

Currently only 17% of councils in the UK offer a soft plastics collection. This is set to change with new regulations.

About the trial

The trial in South Gloucestershire is part of a wider project called FPF FlexCollect, which focuses on developing best practice and insights into recycling flexible plastic.

We have been selected to take part along with several other councils.

This is because our recycling service has the scope to include collections of soft plastics with the sorting processes we have, and many of you have told us you are keen to recycle more.

To get a good understanding of the best way to collect soft plastics from homes, the trial is testing the collection of different types and combinations. Each household on the trial has been given a list of what can be put out for collection.

The number of South Gloucestershire households included in the trial will gradually expand over the next 2 to 3 years. It is not possible to request to join the trial and flats are currently not included.

What it means

If your household is included you will already have received notification through the post and given special bags to put your soft plastics in.

Do not put them loose in your recycling box – you should put them in the bags provided, which should be tied with a double knot. This enables them to be sorted more effectively during the recycling process.

What happens to what’s collected

The ambition is for the soft plastics collected by the trial to be recycled in the UK, but some may have to be sent to an alternative recycling facility in Europe, or (as a last resort) used as a fuel to generate electricity. 

This is only when the recycling facilities are not able to accept the material because it has too many of the wrong things included, or if there is more than they can process.

So far, none of the soft plastics collected in South Gloucestershire have been sent to Europe or been used as fuel. 

Next steps

In the long term, the aim is to recycle soft plastics to make new plastic packaging, enabling the UK to create a full recycling loop for this type of waste.

Currently in the UK only 6% is recycled.

By recycling these plastic items, this material can be used to make a range of products including ‘bags for life’, boxes, bins, and agricultural and construction materials, which reduces their environmental impact and helps reduce our reliance on virgin plastic.

Almost all virgin plastic comes from fossil fuels, and the process of manufacturing plastic creates millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases every year.


The trial was initially rolled out to a small number of households in October 2022.

In May 2024 a further 22,000 households were added on selected recycling routes.

If the FPF FlexCollect project is successful, our aim is for soft plastics to be collected from the kerbside of all South Gloucestershire households by the end of 2026, in line with proposed government legislation.

Further information

Check which streets are included in the soft plastics trial.

If you have any questions or if you would like further information use the contact box on the page.

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