Surge in contaminated waste as recycling rules ignored

The amount of waste being sent to landfill or burned instead of being recycled has almost doubled in the past three years, figures show.

The contents of up to one in five recycling bins were turned away by some councils last year because they were “contaminated” with the wrong items, a Freedom of Information request for the Daily Mail revealed.

Last year 338,000 tonnes of recycling was buried or incinerated, the paper said, up 84% from 2012.

Twenty in every 100 bins were turned away in the London boroughs of Newham and Hammersmith and Fulham, the figures showed, while 18 in every 100 were rejected by Manchester City Council.
Contaminated recycling must be sent to landfill, Peter Box, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association told the paper.

He said while some people might make genuine mistakes when it came to their rubbish, action was needed against those who did so deliberately.

He said: ” Allowing councils to identify and work with people who misunderstand or make mistakes when sorting their rubbish is important.

“As a last resort, councils also need effective, proportionate powers to take action against households or businesses which persistently or wilfully damage the local environment.”

He added that the overall amount of waste produced must be reduced.
He said: “Boosting recycling is only addressing half the problem. Retailers, manufacturers and caterers must do more to bring down the waste generated each year.”

Newham Council said it was working to cut down on the amount of recycling “lost because of contamination”.

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