Council issues reassurance over recycling

Kitchen caddies with biodegradable bags are a familiar sight in Wigan
Kitchen caddies with biodegradable bags are a familiar sight in Wigan

Wigan Council has reassured residents that all food waste bags are 100 per cent compostable.

The town hall confirmed this after residents in nearby Garswood, run by St Helens Council, found that they were being given plastic bags to recycle their leftovers.

Although the announcement was initially made by St Helens in 2015, a conversation on a neighbourhood social media group revealed that many residents were still unaware of it.

A concerned resident from Garswood spoke out to inform others that the caddy bags they are being given to recycle food are not biodegradable.

St Helens Council, which also covers parts of Billinge, has responded to this explaining that the change was made as part of a cost-cutting exercise and publicised back in 2015, when funding was first cut.

A St Helens Council spokesperson said: “The food bags distributed as part of the food waste collection service are not biodegradable, but are extracted and recovered during food waste processing.

“When the food waste collection service launched in 2013, the bags provided were biodegradable, but as part of a subsequent procurement exercise in 2015, non-biodegradable bags were chosen to reduce costs and ensure the service remains sustainable, in the context of ever-reducing Government funding.

“At this time the council publicised the change, and it was reported on widely. Residents still have the option to purchase their own biodegradable bags, or even use newspaper to line their food caddies, which breaks down much more easily than even biodegradable bags.

“We appreciate every effort made by residents to recycle more, and your recycled food waste – which goes on to produce biofuel, generate energy or enhance soil nutrients – is a big part of this.”

But Wigan Council hasn’t imposed any such change.

A spokesperson said: “They are 100 per cent compostable. Compostable bags are made from starch, which keeps plastic out of our compost.

“This is better than a biodegradable bag because it breaks down during the composting process. If something is biodegradable it could break down over a significantly longer period of time.”