Orange bag recycling scheme rolled out in Leicester

By Nick Mann

Biffa began operating a new commingled recycling service for households in Leicester this week (October 18) in a move that has allowed it to add mixed plastics, metal containers and cardboard to the list of materials collected at the kerbside.

Preparations for the service change have involved 110,000 rolls of orange bags being delivered to the citys homes over past fortnight. The bags are being used to collect householders recycling instead of the green boxes used under the councils previous kerbside sort system.

Councillor Sarah Russell, Assistant City Mayor responsible for neighbourhood services at Leicester city council, with the new bags being used for recycling
Councillor Sarah Russell, Assistant City Mayor responsible for neighbourhood services at Leicester city council, with the new bags being used for recycling

The introduction of the new service has also involved a new 11-strong fleet of orange-cabbed refuse collection vehicles being used to carry out the collections which remain weekly, like the previous green box service. Orange bags are being collected on the same day as residual waste, which is collected in a black wheeled bin.

Leicester city council decided in August 2011 to roll out the orange bag recycling scheme city-wide after an earlier six month trial launched by Biffa in September 2010 saw recycling rates increase by almost 11% a week. It also contributed to a 15.3 fall in the amount of residual waste collected.

The council is hoping the new service will help it to increase the citys overall recycling rate from 40% to around 48%.

Biffa runs Leicesters waste and recycling collections under a 25-year, 300 million PFI-funded contract which began in 2003.

Initial signs

According to the city council, early signs of residents’ support for the service have been encouraging, with people across the city already putting out their recycling in the new orange bags since Biffa started delivering them. Biffa has collected recycling in both bags and boxes and is now collected unwanted green boxes.

Cllr Sarah Russell, Assistant City Mayor responsible for neighbourhood services, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the support for the new orange bag service over the last two weeks and the staff at Biffa have done a fantastic job of making sure all recycling is collected.

“This new orange bag service is all about making it easier for people to recycle more. It’s a simple service that has proven very popular and successful in the trial areas. I’m sure it’s going to continue to strike a chord now it’s rolling out across the city. This has got the potential to make a massive difference to the city’s recycling rates.”


Previously, householders could only put paper, glass and plastic bottles in their green box. However, under the orange bag system, they can also recycle cardboard, metal cans, mixed plastics including pots, film and bottles, aerosols and cartons such as Tetra Pak. Materials collected commingled are being sent to Biffas materials recycling facility at Aldridge in Birmingham for sorting.

Kyrone Dodd, general manager for Biffa in Leicester, added: This recycling service is a great development for Leicester. We have received excellent feedback from the public during our trial period and this shows the real interest the public have for recycling and its benefits for the environment.

Biffa Waste Services Ltd looks forward to the continued working relationship in collecting Leicesters refuse and recycling.

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