Monday, September 12, 2016

UK Recycling Rejection Rate up by 84%

A BBC Breakfast Freedom of Information request has revealed an 84% increase in the amount of UK waste presented as recycling being rejected due to contamination – people putting stuff in the wrong boxes.

The data revealed by the FoI request showed that 338,000 tonnes of waste had been rejected in the year 2014/15 compared to 184,000 tonnes in 2011/12. However the overall amount recycled has increased from 10.7m tonnes to 11m tonnes over the same period, but the rejected amount is still cause for concern as it goes to either landfill or incineration.

WRAP, the resource efficiency experts, blame the confusing array of different recycling schemes across the country and not just people, for example, trying to recycle cardboard soiled with grease.

Over at ACE UK, the carton recycling company, Mandy Kelly was more direct blaming budget cuts. She said:
“The priority for councils has of course been to maintain front line services and communications budgets have often been a casualty when making savings (Ed: tell me about it). Unfortunately this is now translating into rising quality issues and flatlining recycling rates.

“This is an area where the industry can provide valuable support to our colleagues in the public sector. ACE UK supplies free communications materials to help councils engage residents in recycling programmes. However there is still a big opportunity for the industry to do more to help.”
However the figures represent an average of about 3% of the overall amount recycled with some councils doing worse and some better. The bad boys were Kirklees (14.99%), Greenwich (14.4%) and Hull (14.2%). We do not have any figures for Redbridge, since the Sustainability Forum was itself subject to a budget cut back in 2013 and we don’t get to see this information any more.

So here’s a quick reminder about what you can and can’t put in your Redbridge recycling box.

For your cardboard to be taken, it must be flattened and presented inside your existing recycling box. It may be necessary to cut larger items up to ensure they fit in the box.

Plastic items such as meat trays, fruit punnets, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, (and any other plastic packaging) do NOT go in your recycling box, even if they have a recycling logo on. There are many different types of plastic and we currently do not have the facilities to separate them, so putting them in your box causes contamination. Rigid plastic containers can often be recycled in bins in larger supermarket, check your local stores.

Shredded paper is perfect for compost bins, but can also go in your kerbside box. In order to avoid the shredded paper blowing around, please ensure it is either wrapped in other paper, presented in a paper bag, or sandwiched between heavier paper items in your box, such as magazines and newspapers.

More information on recycling other materials like batteries, light bulbs, aluminium, electrical items and hard plastic can be found here.

If you are a visitor who lives in another borough then please consult you own borough website.


  1. ...or if you're a visitor who lives on another planet why not just chuck it in the dustbin? What a load of cobblers!

  2. Who is this Alfred guy? He must be the one living on another planet.

  3. He's someone whose lived for many years on this planet, Patsy, using his commonsense without finding the necessity for this cockamamey jargon-laden rubbish, and who realises that most so-called expensively 'recycled' waste goes into the same pit - unless, that is, somebody is going to make money from the bits that get left out. He is someone, Patsy, who thinks that criminalising those unfortunate people who dare to put their rubbish into the 'wrong box' is the height of stupidity and an assault on their civil liberty. And, oddly enough, he is also someone who generally agrees with most of the material you send in to this blog. Furthermore, I still think Ken Livingstone is a nasty piece of work. Yours sincerely, Alfred.

  4. Well, perhaps he should have explained that in the first place instead of appearing to suggest that all recycling is a waste of time. Perhaps he is someone who reads more into the article than was there - no mention of criminalising that I can find. Perhaps he is someone who doesn't realise that nothing, good or bad, desirable or undesirable, gets done in this world unless someone is making money from it so let's make sure that they make money from what improves the environment rather that causes it do degenerate. And perhaps he should be thanked for generously saying that he agrees with most of what I post on the blog.