MONMOUTHSHIRE council could introduce plastic bags for food waste caddies from the New Year in a bid to increase recycling and save £33,000 per year.

Currently residents are given compostable bags, but the county council says these are not composted as part of the process.

Instead, the bags are separated from the food waste and sent for incineration.

Recyclers Agrivert, the company responsible for food waste collection in Monmouthshire, say switching to plastic liners would save money and increase the amount of food waste being deposited.

But the move has previously been questioned by some councillors who say the proposal is at odds with the county council's aspirations of becoming a "plastic-free" county.

The plans will be considered by the council's strong communities select committee later this week, along with a proposal to move to reusable bags for dry recyclates such as plastic, cans, paper and card.

A council report says the proposals are being drawn up in anticipation of an impact on the recycling market from Brexit.

Monmouthshire council has been providing food waste collections in corn starch bags for more than 10 years.

A report says the bags are usually produced overseas and shipped into the UK.

But the compostable bags currently have to be sent for incineration as conditions at the plant where food waste is sent do not allow for them to breakdown.

Agrivert says thin plastic liners offer a more "more cost effective solution for authorities" and are also easier to remove from the food waste.

The move would also allow residents to dispose of their waste using frozen pea or bread bags, for example.

The council report says although the move would seem to be "a retrograde step in light of the plastic free movement", bags will be disposed of in the same way if they are plastic or starch.

"There is an increased scrutiny and public awareness of single use plastic waste in the environment and information conveyed to the public should be open and transparent on the rationale for plastic bags," the report says.

"The other authorities within Heads of the Valleys Food Waste Contract are also considering such a change."

The report says that recycled plastic food waste liners could be used.

These are made of 90 per cent recycled plastic and are 43 per cent cheaper than corn starch bags.

Another option is to use "lower grade" plastic food waste bags which are cheaper again, but these do not "support the wider recycling message," according to the report.

Plastic bags can also be stored at homes for longer, reducing delivery costs as they can be transported in larger numbers.

The strong communities committee will recommend if the change should be made at a meeting on Thursday.