By Ian Onions, Political Editor
Householders will be able to throw away plastic bottles, milk containers, yoghurt pots, fruit punnets and a range of other plastic items.
Until now, it has not been commercially viable to collect plastics because the items are high in volume but low in weight.
It meant householders had to take their plastics to collection points in the city.
But the council has signed a new seven-year contract with Norwich- based firm May Gurney which is introducing a fleet of vehicles that will be able to collect every item for recycling on each collection day.
It means householders will be able to put out their new green box with their black wheelie bin for rubbish, black box for recycling and brown food container with the lockable lid.
The 54 purpose-built recycling lorries which cost about £70,000 each will be phased in from January.
The phased programme will introduce the green box collections over a period of four or five months.
A pilot scheme is already being tested in some parts of Bristol involving 17,000 homes. There are a total of 189,000 homes in the city.
Plastics can be recycled by turning them into flakes or pellets which can be used for a wide range of industrial products from roof soffits to car dashboards. Some can even be used for re-making milk containers.
Nicola Peake, chief executive of May Gurney’s environmental services, said the new vehicles were designed to carry recycled materials in a roof cavity.
A variety of separate compartments at the side of vehicle means that collectors can sort items as they empty the bins and boxes.
Cabinet Councillor Gary Hopkins said it was helpful if plastic items were washed before they were put in the green box but this was not absolutely necessary. It was also helpful if bottles and containers could be crushed down.
Mrs Peake said they had set a target of achieving 80 per cent of a household’s waste for recycling.
At the moment, the recycling rate is 39 per cent and it is hoped to reach 50 per cent within seven years.
Mr Hopkins said that 90 per cent of Bristol’s annual 200,000 tonnes of waste used to go to landfill.
But this led to crippling landfill taxes which meant recycling was not only good for the environment but also eased the burden on council taxpayers.
Mr Hopkins said: “Bristol people happen to be very good at recycling and have got involved in the ethos.
“We are much better at recycling than a lot of other cities and this is one of the main reasons why we have been able to bring so many new measures.”
From next month, around two-thirds of the city’s household waste will go to New Earth Solutions’ new waste treatment facility which has just been built in Avonmouth.
The plant is part of a contract with the West of England Partnership which represents the four councils in the former Avon area.
It will be able to sort through the household waste to check for items for recycling. The remainder will eventually be cooked in a pyrolysis plant and taken to landfill.