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Wrong waste in recycle bins costs taxpayers half a million

PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 April 2018

The wrong items going into recycling waste costs hundreds of thousands of pounds. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The wrong items going into recycling waste costs hundreds of thousands of pounds. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Used nappies, food and glass are among the frequent items wrongly put in recycling bins in Suffolk – and it’s costing the taxpayer more than half a million pounds each year.

The leaftlet being distributed as part of the recycling education scheme. Picture: SUFFOLK WASTE PARTNERSHIPThe leaftlet being distributed as part of the recycling education scheme. Picture: SUFFOLK WASTE PARTNERSHIP

Suffolk County Council received a report detailing some of the issues around recycling, with figures revealing that the cost of residents putting items in the wrong bin was £550,000 a year to Suffolk’s councils.

Just 1pc of recycling waste being contaminated with wrong items cost councils £50,000.

Among the common items are food, used nappies and glass, as well as uncertainty around items like polystyrene and juice cartons.

To tackle the issue, Suffolk Waste Partnership is running a series of targeted schemes to help educate people on what can and cannot go in the blue bins.

The campaign aims to educate homeowners on what can and cannot be recycled. Picture:  BILL DARNELLThe campaign aims to educate homeowners on what can and cannot be recycled. Picture: BILL DARNELL

Rob Cole, Suffolk Waste Partnership manager, said that 97pc of people supported recycling meaning that homeowners putting items in the wrong bin was not malicious, but said it was important for the environment and taxpayer.

“We are trying to educate people and make sure they understand what goes where,” he said.

“At the end of the day we want to help people understand, and that’s what all of our campaigns aim for.”

He added: “Recycling is a cheaper option than putting [waste] in the bin – disposing of waste is expensive. It’s better for the environment, better for the taxpayer and better for residents.”

A pilot was launched in areas of Ipswich and Lowestoft last year in which leaflets were distributed outlining what waste can and cannot be recycled, stickers were placed on bins and one-to-one chats were held with residents.

Samples from those routes analysed at Great Blakenham revealed a significant reduction in the wrong items going into recycling waste.

This is set to be rolled out in different areas of Ipswich and Lowestoft from May or June, alongside Bury St Edmunds.

A further trial will be held in Ipswich and Brandon using similar methods to reduce glass in both recycling and black bins, and getting people to use bottle banks.

Currently around 70pc of all domestic glass in the county is recycled, but the scheme aims to reduce pockets where it is still put in regular bins.

New leaflets will target specific areas with details including where the nearest bottle banks are.


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