Suffolk residents urged to #ShakeItOut when recycling

A new campaign by Suffolk Waste Partnership is encouraging people to empty plastic bags and not throw them in recycling.
Published: 22 May 2023

A campaign encouraging people in Suffolk to shake out their bags and not to put them in their recycling bins is underway.

The #ShakeItOut campaign has been launched by the Suffolk Waste Partnership to encourage households in Suffolk to help improve recycling rates across the county by making sure black bin bags and other plastic sacks are not thrown in with recyclable materials. 

The #ShakeItOut logo with an image of recycling in a bin and the message to shake out plastic bags when recycling and keep it clean, dry and loose.
#ShakeItOut is encouraging people to shake out plastic bags and keep recycling clean, dry and loose.

The Partnership, which comprises Babergh District Council, East Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, Suffolk County Council, and West Suffolk Council, says more than a quarter (26%) of the materials in Suffolk’s recycling bins in 2022/23 were not able to be processed as they were spoiled.

Items that contributed to spoiled recycling collections included:

  • Materials that were not clean and dry, or contained food and drink residue
  • Rubbish sacks or plastic bags containing recycling
  • Non-recyclable items, such as nappies and food waste

Plastic bags and rubbish sacks are a particular problem – recycling handlers can’t see what’s inside them and they are often full of rubbish or other non-recyclable items.

This means bags are removed during the sorting process to avoid spoiling other good recycling. Any removed bags are then sent for disposal.

Rob Cole, of Suffolk Waste Partnership, said:

“We know from previous research that 73% of Suffolk residents are concerned about the environment and most people want to get their recycling right*.

“Our Shake It Out campaign aims to help residents better understand their recycling services and ensure items are clean, dry and loose when they are placed in their recycling bins.

“We appreciate that some households may collect their recycling in plastic bags, to make it easy to carry out. This great work can be wasted if recycling is then added to your wheelie bin in a plastic bag.

“We’re urging all Suffolk residents to make sure any plastic bags used to collect recycling are shaken out into the recycling bin.”

The Suffolk Waste Partnership has also released a new animation as part of the wider campaign to promote the #ShakeItOut message.

The animation aims to remind households across the country of the simple measures they can take to help improve recycling:

To find out more about the #ShakeItOut campaign and for more information on recycling in Suffolk, visit