Dobbies Garden Centres adds compost bag recycling points to 81 stores

Bags from all brands will be accepted. Image: Veolia

From this week, customers will be able to access recycling bins for the bags at 81 Dobbies locations across the UK, following a smaller scale trial. They will be able to drop off compost bags of any size and from any brand.

Most councils do not collect the bags at kerbside because, as is the case with most flexible plastics, they have proven challenging to recycle in the past in existing mechanical infrastructure. Challenges include their light weight, the fact that some formats are multi-material and the fact that it’s hard to recycle mixed kinds of plastic films.

Veolia is aiming to recycle 40 million bags from the bins at Dobbies. It will collect the bags and recycle them using specialist infrastructure, claiming that the resulting material will be appropriate for use in new flexible and solid applications, including packaging and garden furniture.

Miracle-Gro may well decide to use some of the recycled materials in new bags. The brand’s sustainability marketing manager Jane Hartley welcomed the roll-out of the bins, noting a “very positive consumer response” to the trials.

Hartley said: “We are monitoring contamination but so far it’s good quality material. we have had interest from a number of retailers who want to set up similar schemes.”

While supermarkets, online retailers and consumer goods brands have borne the brunt of the so-called ‘Blue Planet 2 effect’ in recent years, with customers demanding less plastic, the horticulture sector is a significant plastic producer. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) estimates that, every year, the UK uses 30,000 tonnes of garden-related plastic, including compost bags, plant pots, chemical bottles and propagators.

Related news: UK Government and industry launch nation’s biggest flexible plastic packaging recycling pilot for homes

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