Council issues recycling warning

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Residents dumping nappies or food in their recycling bins are costing tax payers in Stafford Borough thousands of pounds.

The Council has released a picture of a lorry load of recycling that was recently rejected by the processing plant because unwanted rubbish had been put in the blue recycling bins.

Because of nappies and food the 18 tonne pile could not be recycled and had to be sent away to be incinerated – costing thousands of pounds more. The Council stress it is only a small minority of households that are putting the wrong items in the blue bin.

Now residents are being warned their blue bins will not be emptied if they have items that cannot be recycled inside. The message is being sent to every home in the borough with the annual bin calendar very soon.

If the blue bin contains nappies, food, textiles or black bags – it will not be collected. And the bin will only be emptied on the next scheduled blue bin collection if the householder has removed the unwanted items.

Residents are reminded a list of products that can be recycled can be found under the lid of the blue bin or at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling.

The Council has launched a number of initiatives to increase recycling including the popular doorstep challenge where householders can win £60 for being good recyclers. Around 55 per cent of all waste collected from homes is recycled – and the figure has increased year after year.

And the authority was shortlisted for a national title last year because of its innovative approach to increasing recycling.

Councillor Frank Finlay, Cabinet Member for Environment and Health, said:

“Most residents in the borough use their recycling bins properly and don’t put nappies or food waste in them.

“Unfortunately, a minority are putting items in that can’t be processed and this can cause major problems, sometimes leading to a whole lorry load of recycling being rejected at the depot.

“This is a lose, lose situation. Someone has to foot the bill for the incineration – and we will lose out on the money we get for recycling. This is why we want to make sure we can avoid this cost by recycling correctly.”

The Council is given money depending on the amount of rubbish it recycles and this cash is pumped back into the service – with an increase in one per cent of recycling worth nearly £25,000 to the authority.

Councillor Finlay added:

“The more money coming back to the service means less money needed to run it, and this ultimately keeps the council tax down.”