HUBS across the Yorkshire Dales National Park are set to open again this year in order to recycle plastic tree guards.

The project – a first in the UK – was initiated by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) and the Forest Plastics Working Group, a conglomerate of cross-sector partners and stakeholders, with the aim of removing and recycling woodland plastic.

Last year, the project removed nearly 100,000 tree shelters from 48 woodlands in the Yorkshire Dales alone.

YDMT is calling on landowners, organisations and the public to deposit their plastic tree guards at one of three recycling hubs so that the plastic can be re-purposed and reused in future tree planting projects.

The first hub to open will be at Craven Auction Mart in Skipton later this month.

Mike Appleton, YDMT's woodland officer, said there was now a requirement that all plastic shelters were removed when they were no longer needed, and by recycling them, the project provided a more 'circular economy'.

He said: “Many woodland creation schemes use plastic tree guards that provide essential protection for young trees. This can create a huge problem of degraded plastic in the environment if they are not managed at the end of their life.

“By participating in this scheme, people will be removing plastics that, if left, will eventually disintegrate into smaller fragments that can find their way into our soils and waterways.

“The new UK Forestry Standard states that all shelters, whether plastic or ‘biodegradable’ must be cleared from site at their end of use. By collecting plastic shelters and recycling them with our partners Tubex we create a more circular economy.”

With three hubs now available, it means there are more opportunities for people to recycle their woodland plastic.

Mike added: “It is great to see this scheme going from strength to strength, having started with just two hubs a couple of years ago to the 22 there are across the country.

Plastic tree guard recycling will take place at Craven Auction Mart, Gargrave Road, Skipton, from Thursday, May 23 to Saturday, May 25; and from September 5 to September 7.

There will also be recycling opportunities in Appersett in September and in Milnthorpe in August.