UP to 100 tonnes of recyclable rubbish put into green wheelie bins in Redditch every month has to be sent for incineration instead because it’s contaminated with other material.
That’s the shock statistic from Redditch Borough Council as it spearheads a county-wide campaign to get local people ‘putting the right waste in the right place’.
And if residents fail to recycle properly, the authority simply won’t empty their bin.
The initiative will see refuse collectors checking recycling bins and leaving stickers on those whose contents cannot be recycled due to also containing the likes of food waste, nappies, sanitary items, wet wipes and polystyrene.
“Contamination of recyclable waste is a growing concern where the wrong stuff has been put in the wrong bin,” said the authority’s environmental services manager Matt Austin.
“This may be down to confusion about what is recyclable, lack of knowledge or people hoping something is recyclable – ‘wish recycling’.
“Everyone has a duty of care for their waste and we have a duty to provide a service.”
His colleague, Anna Wardell-Hill added: “If it’s not laid out in the way we need it we do not need to collect it.
“The responsibility is with the resident.”
As it is every year the borough recycles less than half the rubbish it sends to landfill or incineration – more than 17,000 tonnes versus 8,000 tonnes.
It’s a situation, said Councillor Brandon Clayton, portfolio holder for the environment, that cannot continue.
“We’re told that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish,” he said.
“We want to help people make a better world.
“Our crews will be inspecting recycling bins and notifying residents why their bin has not been collected.
“We are asking all our residents to work with the council to make our recycling the best it could be.”
Every household in the borough will be leafleted detailing what can be recycled and what to do with those items that can’t be recycled.
The initiative will be rolled out across Redditch from the end of January.