Recycling plastic pots and tubs in Cornwall

Back in 2016 Cornwall Council tested the impact of adding plastic pots, tubs and trays to the existing kerbside recycling service. The trial included 46,000 properties, which I am pleased to say Porthleven was part of. From this trail, the results were very positive and because of this Cabinet, supported by all Members voted to extend the service across the whole of Cornwall in a phased approach during 2017.

It has to be phased because this is a major service change that will affect all aspects of the collection. It is essential in this roll-out to maintain a high level of customer service and have enough time to deliver more recycling equipment, and collect additional items. Therefore, the Council will be phasing the new service in five areas.

The first collections will begin in April and the Council hope to have the final area on board by end of year, depending on any issues that may arise. For those residents who are already in the trail, nothing changes. The initial plan to extend the service and commence collections in partnership with the Council waste contractor Biffa in the most practical order for them, and goes like this;

April – Continue collecting in the area used in the trial (half of what was Carrick and Kerrier districts) and start collecting in the other half of that area which includes Falmouth, the Lizard peninsular, Camborne, Redruth, St Agnes, Perranporth, Tregony and Truro.

Phase 2 – Central area 2 including Newquay, St Austell, Mevagissey, Lostwithiel, St Columb, the China Clay area and Fowey.

Phase 3 – East area 2 including Liskeard, St Cleer, Looe, Torpoint, Saltash and Callington,

Phase 4 – East area 1 including Bude, Launceston, Bodmin, Wadebridge, Padstow, Camelford, Delabole.

Phase 5  – West area 1 including Penzance, Hayle, St Ives, St Just.

The Council will send a leaflet out to every household to let them know when they can begin to use the service a few weeks before the service begins enabling them to order more recycling equipment if they need to.  The Council will then send a second leaflet just before the service starts to remind residents that the service is beginning and how to order containers.

Plastic pots tubs and trays will be collected on the same day as the current recycling collection in the same bag as the one used already for plastic bottles, tins and cans.

It is important to know what can they recycle as part of the new service? Please remember to rinse and squash any dirty plastic pots, tubs and trays before recycling them.

Yes please No thank you
Plastic margarine tubs Plastic bags e.g. carrier bags, sandwich bags
Plastic ice cream tubs Plastic film e.g. Cling film
Plastic yoghurt pots Plastic oil or pesticide containers
Plastic biscuit and cake trays/box inserts Black plastic trays, pots and tubs
Plastic meat trays Expanded polystyrene (burger boxes)
Plastic fruit and vegetable trays Any plastic containers larger than three litres
Plastic moulded fruit containers Pet food pouches
Plastic fresh soup pots Film lids from pots, tubs and trays
Plastic sweet/biscuit boxes Crisp/sweet packets
Plastic cream pots and tubs Rigid plastics e.g. toys, furniture, ‘Tupperware’
Plastic salad bowl/pot  
Plastic premade sandwich packet  
Plastic lids from containers and bottles (excluding film lids)  


Why are we not collecting any of the other plastic? To make the collection of these items as cost effective as possible, we have to have the ability to sell the material that we collect for recycling. Sadly the Council cannot recycle films, polystyrene, black plastic or ridged plastic at this time.

A question I am often asked is why can we not take black plastics? These plastics are predominantly sorted with lasers that can identify the different types of plastic. The lasers cannot “see” the black plastic and it ends up in the reject pile at the end of the process and is not recycled.

If anybody doesn’t have any recycling equipment then this is the opportunity for them to order it. For everyone else we hope they can use their current bag for recycling pots, tubs and trays. However, the Council have factored in time to be able to order additional containers before the service starts.

Containers can be ordered either over the phone, or order recycling containers online




  • Kelly Bennett

    This is great we are now recycling more than we are putting in the regular bin….we have weekly collections of bin waste and recycling is every other week….maybe it’s now time to look at swapping this over??

  • Rachel Bunney

    Are you taking the blue drinking water bottles? I enquired some years ago you were not taking them then , so I don’t put them in, was just wondering, thank you

  • Andrew Wallis

    Not sure. I can find out.

  • Angela Woolhouse

    I also think this is good news. Weekly collections would be good as we already have two red bags and one each of the others.As finding a home for another bag would be difficult but please don’t give up on weekly rubbish collections unless you intend to give out wheelie bins.

  • Lagora

    Presumably all those residents not currently in the trial area will be sent notification of the change. I’d not agree with anything other than a weekly bin collection as I once bought a full size wheelie bin and the refuse collectors refused to empty it as it was too big for them to bend into apparently for health and safety reasons, and they said they didn’t have the lifting equipment on the lorry, so for a fortnight rubbish collection I’d expect the council now to supply a full size wheelie bin.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Information will be sent

  • Gilly Zella Martin

    This is good news for the recycling rate of Cornwall, however, I would like to see for the kerbside collections optional suitably sized receptacles available for single person households with little or no storage space. I have nowhere to store the current receptacles and they cannot be left outside permanently as they blow away or deteriorate in the weather. I currently put all recycling in just one bag and deposit it all in the car-park recycling banks.

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