Hovis has teamed up with recycling firm TerraCycle to help increase the amount of bread bags sent for recycling.

The Bread Bag Recycling Programme aims to create a UK-wide network of public access recycling points. Community groups and individuals are encouraged to set up locations where people can drop off used bread bags, which can then be sent free of charge to TerraCycle for recycling. They will then be converted into plastic pellets or flakes used to make items such as benches or outdoor furniture.

Whoever runs the collection points can nominate a school, charity or non-profit organisation that can benefit from the rewards points raised for each piece of qualified waste sent to TerraCycle.

Currently LDPE bread bags, such as the ones used by Hovis, are recyclable through plastic bag collection points at most major retailers’ stores. Figures from plastics recycling charity Recoup also highlight that only one in 10 local authorities currently recycle bread bags.

In September last year Hovis sought to raise awareness of the fact that bread bags can be recycled through a new on-pack labelling design

“We’re delighted to launch this initiative with TerraCycle to improve the ease of recycling used bread bags and, as a result, cut the amount of plastic entering the waste stream,” said Hovis CEO Nish Kankiwala.

“Given the increasing public concern and debate about the level of un-processed plastic waste, we hope this will help as part of the wider efforts to boost recycling of plastics.”

Laure Cucuron, TerraCycle Europe general manager added:“Bread is a product that is consumed by many families on a daily basis so there is significant scope to alter consumer behaviour and to encourage people to recycle used bread bags. Hovis is helping to lead the agenda for the bread industry and we hope to see more brands and industries making moves in the same direction.”

Other companies have also teamed up with TerraCycle to increase the recycling rate of their packaging, including Walkers Crisps and McVitie’s owner Pladis.