The £2.9m Flexible Plastic Fund FlexCollect project will help to understand how to incorporate flexibles into existing collection services across different geographies and demographics, and develop best practice ahead of the introduction of consistent collections across the UK in 2027.

The pilot will build an evidence base, share learning and develop best practice with key insights into the operational issues, yields and recyclability of flexible packaging, effective communications with residents and the costs of incorporating it into the UK’s current recycling collection systems.

Gareth Morton, discovery manager at Ecosurety and FPF FlexCollect project lead for the Flexible Plastic Fund, commented: ‘Alongside our work on front of store collections with retailers and recyclers, FPF FlexCollect will enable us to deepen and accelerate understanding of the flexible plastics recycling chain and its complexities through the lens of kerbside collections. It is a great opportunity for our members to get really involved and help to make flexible plastics recycling a reality quicker.’

The industry-led project, which includes some of the UK’s leading manufacturers, benefits from the expertise of industry and Government partners, including Defra, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), SUEZ, RECOUP, LARAC and WRAP.

It is co-funded by the Flexible Plastic Fund, Defra, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP) and Zero Waste Scotland, with participating local authorities financially supported to roll out and operate pilot kerbside collections over the three-year project.

Stuart Hayward-Higham, technical development director at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, commented: ‘FPF FlexCollect is a unique opportunity for local authorities to introduce the collection and recycling of flexible plastic packaging at an early stage, with the benefit not only of financial support but also hands-on practical guidance from industry experts. It will be of enormous value in helping to understand the best ways to effectively collect and importantly, recycle flexible plastic.’