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New Recycling FAQs

Why have you decided to make these changes?

We have recently published our new Resource and Waste Strategy through to 2030 to help minimise and recycle more of our waste. This will help us mitigate the impacts of climate change and help us meet our ambitious target to be net zero carbon by 2040.

We have delivered replacement blue and white bags and a new 73L green recycling bag for card recycling to deal with the increased amount of card generated in St Helens and help us separate glass from card to maintain quality and help recycle as much of our waste as possible.

The change to collection days will make our collection rounds more efficient and help us reduce vehicle movements, reducing carbon emissions. It will also support growing collection areas in future years.

When did the new collection days start?

New collection days started from Monday 6th November. Residents received a calendar leaflet in October, with the collection dates on. You can also check your collection dates online.

Can I collect the new bags?

You can collect the recycling bags from any library or the Contact Centre Town Hall Hub (open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday). Please check the opening times for libraries Find your library

Why can't we have a bin like other authorities?

There are pros and cons to both systems. For a one bin recycling system where you put all your recycling into one container you need the additional multi-million pound infrastructure to sort the recycling that is done already at kerbside when we collect your recycling with boxes and bags. A one bin recycling system can cause material to become cross-contaminated and in some cases contamination can be as high as 30%. With our new system we have now over double the amount of recycling capacity per week compared to our neighbours with a fortnightly co-mingled recycling collection in a bin.

Why have our collection days changed?

We are improving the efficiency of our collection rounds to take account of new properties in St Helens. This will also reduce the number of vehicle movements helping us save fuel and reduce our impact on the environment.

Would it not be a better service/ cost efficient to provide everyone with recycling bins instead of providing another bag?

If we collected your recycling in one bin we would have to pay for the recycling to be processed. We received more than £3 million last year in recycling income that can be re-invested into public services. There would also be greater costs for extra bins and collection vehicles.

How can I get all my waste and recycling into these containers?

The volume of the three recycling bags and your black recycling box is the equivalent of a standard wheeled bin and this is collected weekly. You can order additional free recycling bags and boxes to suit your needs, order my containers

Why am I getting a bag for cardboard and not a box?

We are all generating more card these days and the new green bag that you will receive for card is bigger than the recycling box so you have extra capacity as some residents currently struggle using the black box for card. The green bag is a 73L capacity, with an expandable lid, the black box is a 55L capacity. 

What happens if I put out my black recycling box out for collection after the 6th November containing glass and card?

After this date your recycling may not be collected and an information card will be left explaining that you must use your green recycling bag for card and black recycling box for glass recycling only. More information can be found on our web site.

Can we get calendars every year?

We delivered a paper calendar that will cover from November 2023 to the end of February 2024 just for the new service change, you can access the collection dates online all year round. Check my collection date

What happens to the bags and boxes I already have?

You can keep any existing bags for any extra recycling as there is no limit to the numbers of bags that you can have or reuse them at home. We have decided to replace bags as many people have old bags that are coming to the end of their life.

Why are you not taking greeting cards and wrapping paper anymore?

We are finding a lot of greeting cards have glue and glitter on them, and wrapping paper is not always paper, so if either of these are placed in your blue bag it will contaminate the collection. Please put them in your brown bin. Or visit Recycle now this will give you your nearest recycling location. 

I live in a flat will I still get the new bags?

If you have communal recycling bins you will not receive new bags. If you currently have your own bins and recycling containers you should receive the new recycling bags.

Is food waste collections changing?

No, please continue to put your food waste in the caddy provided, if you need to order a new food waste caddy visit

I don't currently have any recycling bags, what do I do?

As all residents will now have a new set of recycling bags. You can order your containers online.

I don't want the new bags because I do not want to take part in recycling. I will just throw them in the bin.

All properties will be issued with a new set of recycling bags and we kindly request that you use these bags to recycle your waste to help the environment and reduce disposal costs that allows us to support other local services. The new bags are relevant to the property and need to be present should you move house the same as your wheeled bins.

Why are you changing how we recycle card?

In St Helens, residents produce a lot of cardboard, and to prevent contamination with glass in the black box, the green bag has been introduced. Feedback from residents was that the black box is not big enough for card and glass so the extra green bag will give you extra recycling capacity to help you recycle even more. The new bags have an improved lid and heavier weight to help stop them blowing away in strong winds.

The bags blow away how are these better?

The new bags will have an improved lid to help keep the contents dry and a heavier weight in the bottom to stop them blowing away in the wind.

Why have you given us a blue bag for paper when less people buy newspapers now?

We still collect more than 1,400 tonnes of paper for recycling each year. The new blue paper bag will be smaller than the other bags and will be weighted in the bottom to stop them from blowing away in the wind.

What is the difference between a pink bag and a white bag?

The pink bag was changed to a white bag a few years ago, they are used to collect the same recyclable items including plastic bottles and cans. You should present your new white bag out for collection once you receive it.

I didn't know recycling was changing I haven't seen anything

You will have received a leaflet when you got your new bags in September/October, this will explain everything. We do try to reach out to as much of the residents as we can by promoting on social media, the newspaper, the website, billboards and undertaking roadshows in person.

What will happen if I am on an Assisted Collection?

Please use your new recycling bags as instructed. If your collection day changes your new collection crew will already have a list of properties on an Assisted Collection and you will get your collection as normal. Please note the collection time may be different.

Why do we do kerbside recycling?

Recycling is really important in helping protect the environment reducing our carbon footprint and helping meet our St Helens target of net zero carbon production by 2040. Recycling reduces the need for products to be made from raw materials and helps reduce energy. It also costs much less to recycle your waste than to dispose of it in your brown bin, so by recycling you are helping us avoid wasting public money and allows us to protect local services for St Helens Borough residents.

Why have we got so many bags?

The kerbside sort system with bags and boxes means the quality of material collected is better meaning that organisations prefer to use it and has more value meaning we recycle more. If we collect in one bin, contamination levels can be as high as 25% and this is not recycled.

I have seen the bin lorry taking all my recycling together so how can you be serious about recycling?

On the odd occasion, our bin lorries do help out with our recycling collections, this could be due to a vehicle breakdown or during peak periods like Christmas. We can assure you that this recycling is still recycled. Last Christmas we used the bin lorries to collect excess card and moving forwards by separating the glass and card it will make it much easier for us to catch up and recycle your waste when we have any issues.

I have still got a trolley box, will I still be able to use it?

This was a trial, and it has now come to an end. Thank you for your participation.

You will have received the 3 new recycling bags that have been delivered along with a new black recycling box, you will also have received a leaflet explaining this, if you present your trolley box with your recycling, it will not get collected, please use your new containers.

If you do not want your trolley box you will have to take it to your local HWRC for disposal.