PLANS to introduce plastic bags for food waste caddies in place of an 'ineffective' compostable alternative in Monmouthshire have moved a step closer.

Residents are currently given corn starch bags but these are not composted due to their design and are sent for incineration after being separated from the food waste.

Switching to plastic liners is estimated to save £33,000 per year and could also increase food waste recycling.

Monmouthshire council's strong communities select committee recommended for the change to be approved at a meeting on Thursday.

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

Some councillors have criticised the plans previously, suggesting it is at odds with the council's aspirations of becoming a "plastic-free" county.

And the proposal was opposed by Cllr Tony Easson at the meeting on Thursday, who said the council should be helping reduce the amount of plastic bags being produced.

"I can understand the benefits but do the benefits at the end of the day outweigh the costs of what we might be producing for society," he added.

Carl Touhig, head of waste and street services at the council, suggested the move was a "necessary evil."

He said: "Whether it's corn starch or plastic (bags) it's going to be burnt anyway.

"So is it better for us to have a cheaper system and educate people about reducing single-use plastics elsewhere but accept that this is a necessary evil?"

Mr Touhig said plastic bags also had a better yield as food sticks to the corn starch ones.

Under the proposals the council would send out recycled plastic bags which last for longer and could come at around half the price of the alternative.

Cllr Roger Harris said the starch bags are "totally inappropriate and ineffective" in their current use.

He added: "I don't see why we should inflict the cost of those on the council tax payers out there when they are not necessary."

Cllr Val Smith said she also supported the move, adding that allowing residents to use existing bags such as bread bags was a good idea.

A proposal to move to reusable bags for dry recyclates such as plastic, cans, paper and card, was also recommended for approval by councillors.

The final decision on both proposals will be made by the cabinet member for operations.