The amount of waste being rejected from kerbside recycling collections in the UK has risen from 184,000 tonnes in 2011/12 to 338,000 tonnes in 2014/15, according to a report by the BBC today.
The report was based on a Freedom of Information made by the broadcaster, and found that while councils are working to stop people putting the wrong items in bins, the problem of contamination is growing.
Commenting on the report trade body the Environmental Services Association said that contamination of recyclates is costing Local Authorities, and therefore the taxpayer, money and wastes valuable resources that could be recycled.
“Local authorities and waste companies are working with householders to address this issue, but it is important to keep in context that 338,000 tonnes represents less than 3.5% of the amount of household waste collected for recycling,” commented ESA’s head of regulation, Sam Corp.
He added that whilst efforts should and will continue to be made to reduce contamination, the progress that has been made to increase recycling in the UK - from near zero in the early 1990s to almost 45% today, should not be forgotten.
“Overall, the amount of household waste recycled rose from 9.1 million tonnes in 2010 to 10.0 million tonnes in 2014, while over the same period the amount landfilled or incinerated fell from 13.0 million tonnes to 12.3 million tonnes,” noted Corp.
He also pointed out that the reports in the national press are about the much smaller quantities of material which, although collected for recycling, cannot in practice be recycled because it is contaminated.
“However, this increase in contamination does still highlight the need for a long-term framework from the government to help drive recycling and reuse, and reduce the levels of contamination that have been shown in these figures,” concluded Corp.
The BBC report can be found HERE
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