LGA: One in 100 recycling items rejected

Only a small percentage of household waste collected by local councils and sent for recycling, composting or reuse is rejected for being the wrong kind of material, Government figures have revealed.

Information provided by local authorities for 2006-07 reveals that just 240,403 tonnes were rejected by recycling and composting facilities.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said a total of 13m tonnes of recyclables were collected, meaning only 1.6% was rejected.

Councillor Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Association Environment Board, said: “Council strive to ensure that as much can be recycled as possible after hard working families spend their time doing their bit to help the environment.

“With, on average, around one in 100 items being rejected for recycling, it is a testament to the hard work of homeowners and just how much pride they take in ensuring the right materials go in the right bins.”

The Campaign for Real Recycling also praised householders’ efforts, but questioned the LGA’s sums.

It said it believed some tonnages may have been counted twice, meaning that the overall tonnage was lower, and the percentage of waste being rejected was higher than 1.6%.

Andy Moore, CRR coordinator, said: “”Moreover, the information may also be misleading as the reject data only describes material that has actually been rejected at the end facility, taking no cognisance of the contamination levels of accepted loads, which at times can be very high.”

One of the high performing areas was West Berkshire, where just three tonnes of the 19,779 tonnes sent for recycling were rejected.

Councillor Geoff Findlay, the council’s environment chief, told edie: “The recycling team is dedicated to improving services and establishing an effective communications programme and this is reflected in the quality of the rejection rates and the recycling rate generally which has improved since 2005 by over 5%.”

One of the authorities with more work to do to get householders to put rubbish in the right bins was Havant Borough Council, in Hampshire. It had 1,220 tonnes out of 11,676 tonnes rejected – about 10.5%.

The LGA said that local councils still have a lot more to do to avoid the threat of landfill fines.

Last autumn, the organisation dubbed Britain the dustbin of Europe as it launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the need to stop landfilling rubbish.

The figures can be found here.

Kate Martin

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