The Wokingham Paper

Wokingham council plans to give residents the sack in bid to boost recycling

A piece of hessian - this is NOT an artists' impression of what the recycling sacks would look like Picture: Riaan Marais from Pixabay

WOKINGHAM’S recycling boxes are set to be replaced in a bid to keep the borough’s waste dry.

Over the past year, there has been a problem caused by recycling companies declining cardboard that has gone soggy.

The contaminated consignments have been rejected – a situation made worse by the heavy rain and flooding that swept through the borough since then.

Wokingham Borough Council has been working on a solution for the kerbside collections that will help residents keep their waste dry and also be environmentally friendly.

The borough is one of the few in the country not to use wheelie bins and on Thursday, July 30, the ruling executive will be asked to discuss a motion that would bring the current system of open boxes to an end.

Under the proposals, residents will be given sealable hessian sacks.

The papers note: “Changing global paper markets have created an increasingly restrictive approach towards wet waste.

“This emerging issue together with the Council’s commitment towards higher recycling targets (consistent with its Climate Emergency declaration) makes it is necessary to replace the current open black plastic boxes with sealable hessian sacks.”

Although the cost to council tax payers will be £295,000 per year, the sacks are anticipated to increase the amount of recycled material and have reduced disposal costs. This will bring in a revenue of £698,000 per year.

As a result, the scheme would save £403,000 per year.

Last week, council leader John Halsall told Wokingham.Today that the council were looking at ways in which their recycling could be kept dry, to improve recycling rates. There was a problem last winter where centres refused to accept wet waste.

“Wokingham is reaching for the stars with recycling: we want to try and solve the problem of wet waste and hope to do so by late autumn,” he said.

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Surely, residents have the nous to improvise a lid. We use an otherwise useless polystyrene slab.
WBC is not much use at the best of times but the roads department is the worst. What is with the closure of Langborough Rd? Why can’t the Council control the road works men? We motorists are a persecuted MAJORITY. It’s time to stand up and be counted.
Finally, what is this regularly expiring US inspired I am not a robot!!


Just make lids for the current bins. Currently it is really easy to open the garage door and throw our recycling in the plastic bin. With a sack it will be easier just to throw it in the dustbin again. Along with soggy Hessian sack!

Wokingham Resident

Could someone explain how a permeable hessian recycling bag will keep the contents of the bag dry?

Michelle Bingham

Hessian bags – covered with chemicals to make them waterproof (great for the environment), that will be scattered everywhere (oh, maybe they could soak up the water that the floodplains that have been built on can’t) with the slightest wind, genius. Here’s and idea – A LID/WHEELY BIN ta dah!


Maybe a box with a lid. Hessian bag, not a good idea. Who thought that would work??

Peter Watt

Is it 1st April? When you add this to the threat to leave RE3 I really think we are being taken down a blind alley. So we will build a recycling centre in the borough at the drop of a hat, ignore planning permission and the interests of the constituents and then fill it with soggy hessian sacks. Words fail me.

Tracy Jenkins

How about just making lids to fit the current bin, we are all concerned about plastic waste. What is going to happen to the current bins, will they be recycled or sent to landfill. I can’t see how hessian sacks will solve this problem, as others have said will get wet and soggy and also prone to blow away.

Heather nottage

Really…. A Hessian sack… Or a sack like the green waste bags ? How will this keep dry.?
Most people don’t have the space to store recycling inside.
What’s wrong with a clear plastic bag (like the blue bags) that gets recycled with the recycling all in one go. I definitely don’t want a soggy Hessian bag to deal with every week. !

Kevin Chandler

Seriously this is your answer? What happened to separate wheelie bins for waste and recycling and collecting on a bi-weekly basis. As most councils do now. If it works for them it should work for us too?


Please let us have wheelie bins it will keep it dry, stop it from blowing all over the County and once they are bought they last for years which saves the Council money, we really need to change the way we think about them.


This is a serious question… how does the hessian bag keep the recycling dry (even if sealed)? All hessian I have seen is loosely woven & would absorb water unless of course it’s coated on the inside with a plastic lining (defeating the point with plastic).

Also what happens to the black plastic boxes I wonder?

I agree the bags will be blown away after emptying much like the green waste bags were years ago.

I am not against recycling at all. It’s become second nature at our house with recycling & food waste.

I just want to know why the bags are better & will they hold as much.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x