UK-first initiative in Exeter sees plastic bags recycled into litter bin sacks

Exeter City Council has become the first authority in the UK to turn plastic bags collected from outside residents’ homes into litter bin sacks.

The ‘closed-loop’ project sees waste polythene collected from kerbsides across the city and from and trade customers and sent to recycling firm Jayplas’s new film-sorting plant in Smethick.

It is then sorted into polymer type and colour before being turned into recycled granules by washing and compounding the materials.

This material is then turned into plastic litter sacks which are sent back to Exeter.

Councillor David Harvey said the partnership was not only saving the council money but also preventing the materials going outside the country to an uncertain end location.

He added: “No other council in the UK has been able to do what we are about to do.

“Exeter is leading the way in both recycling and protecting the environment. This is a fabulous initiative which we should be rightly proud of.”

Jayplas’ Smethwick plant has been operational since October 2019 and intends to reduce reliance on plastic exports.

The company said that it hopes the collaboration will be ‘the first of many’ with local authorities, waste management companies and retailers.

Operations director Mike Maxwell said: “Exeter City Council are to be commended for supporting UK recycling and manufacturing.

“We have the skills and resource to have our own waste sorted and recycled in the UK rather than exporting the waste and importing plastic bags.”

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