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Getting recycling right

Posted by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils on 31 July 2017 | Comments

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The Suffolk Waste Partnership has launched a campaign in two Suffolk towns to tackle the cost of people placing the wrong items in their recycling bins.

‘Getting your Recycling Right’ will be working with around 1,800 homes in the Chantry area of Ipswich and a further 1800 homes in central Lowestoft to help residents understand what can and can’t go in their recycling bin, while also aiming to reduce the £500,000 annual taxpayer cost of removing the wrong items from recycling bins. The two areas identified are being targeted as historically they have had higher than average levels of recycling bin contamination.

In Suffolk, more than half of our household waste is recycled, but contamination levels have been rising as people increasingly put unsuitable items such as food, glass, electrical items and used nappies in their kerbside recycling bins. These items are potentially dangerous, can have a negative impact on the environment and ultimately cost the taxpayer extra money to clean up.

Homes in the campaign area can expect to receive a new information pack through their door as well as a helpful information sticker on their bins. In addition, contractors from Groundworks, working on behalf of the partnership, will be visiting homes to raise awareness and ask people to get their recycling right.

All recyclable waste collected from Suffolk households is taken to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Great Blakenham, where it is sorted and baled before being sent on for recycling. This facility is designed to only accept and process certain materials. If the wrong items are delivered they have to be removed, sometimes by hand.

To ensure the correct items are put into their recycling bins, residents are being asked to remember the following points to combat contamination:

  • Food waste, glass, electrical items, and batteries are just some of the common contaminants found. These items can’t go in your recycling bin at home but they can be recycled elsewhere. Information on where they can be recycled are in the leaflet and online.
  • Textiles and clothes can no longer go in the recycling bin, either bagged or loose. Instead people are asked to donate their clothing to charity shops, or to take it to their nearest recycling banks.
  • Some people are even putting used nappies in their recycling bins. These must always go in the rubbish bin.
  • Anything smaller than 4cm, such as loose bottle tops or shredded paper, won’t get recycled they fall through the sorting process. However, bottle tops can be recycled by simply washing and squashing plastic bottles and putting the tops back on.
  • Aluminium foil needs to be rolled into a tennis ball size before being placed in the recycling bin.

Cllr David Bowman, Chairman of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, said:

“While it is great we are recycling more than half of our household waste here in Suffolk, this campaign will hopefully help people better understand what can be put in their recycling bins and what can’t.

“Contaminating your recycling bin isn’t a small problem and this year it’s costing Suffolk taxpayers over £500,000 just to remove the wrong stuff. This money could be better spent supporting services elsewhere. It’s therefore vital that we all do our bit and help get our recycling right.”

For more information about what can be recycled in your blue bin, please visit www.suffolkrecycle.today.