Newcastle Council looks to combat ‘recycling contamination’

Newcastle City Council looks to combat ‘recycling contamination’ as the next stage of communal bins roll out arrives.

The City of Newcastle has seen a worrying development in its blue and communal recycling bin collection with increasing amounts of non-recyclable materials in recent months. These include food waste, nappies, textiles, and black bags of general waste.

This leads to a high percentage of the recycling materials being rejected for recycling, and slows down the recycling sorting process as black bags need to be opened and checked by hand.

The effect is to lower levels of recycling and increase waste treatment costs. The council hopes the drop in recycling will be an eye opener and encourage more residents to stop and think about their household’s recycling routine.

The council is trying to resolve the issue by adding restrictor plates to new and existing communal bins, which will try and discourage people from putting bulky items and black bin bags into the communal recycling bins. Trials of the new plate have proved successful in some parts of the city, where contamination was an issue, which lead to them being introduced on all new bins.

Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods and regulatory services, said: “The collection and emptying of people’s bins is an important function that helps keep the city ticking over. We introduced communal bins to some back lanes of Newcastle as the Council recognised that something needed to be done to improve the service; and to tackle the issue of excess waste littering the streets.

“Waste contamination of recycling bins is an issue and it’s something that we’re trying to resolve. But instead of it being a short term resolution, we are introducing new methods to ensure the problem doesn’t continue. This includes newly designed bins, education programmes delivered by our enviro-schools and greater targeted enforcement that hits littering and fly-tipping perpetrators in their pockets.

“We will keep preserving with our awareness campaigns and delivering a service that will help Newcastle become a greener and cleaner city.”

Kevin Hawkes, senior operations manager of O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions, said: “O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions process recyclable materials delivered by Newcastle City Council and North Tyneside Council at our Recycling Facility in Wallsend. We are seeing high levels of contamination in the form of domestic black bag waste, nappies, textiles and glass. These materials cause major issues with the recycling process and result in contamination of recyclate sent for further processing. Quality of material is now more important than ever and we would stress the importance of putting the right material in the right bin.”

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