When the wrong items or non-recyclable items are placed in your bin, we refer to this as contamination.
Wrong items and recycling contamination includes items such as:
- pizza boxes, takeaway food or drink containers
- general household waste
- black bags, plastic carrier bags, plastic film, plastic wrappers
- books (these can be taken to your local charity shop)
- electrical items (these can be recycled at your local bring bank)
- clothing (this can be taken to your local charity shop or bring bank)
- used tissues
- plastic food trays, margarine tubs, yoghurt pots or polystyrene
- plastic children's toys (if they can still be used, give them to a friend or your local charity shop)
- heavy metal items
- rubble, stone, soil
- liquids including paint and oils
- gas/helium canisters (you can take them to a household waste recycling centre)
- hazardous waste
- shredded paper
- milk and juice cartons (you can take them to a household waste recycling centre).
If non-recyclable items such as general rubbish, plastic bags, nappies, building materials are put in the red recycling bin it will be classed as 'contaminated'.
If any non-compostable waste (eg plastic, metals) are put in the green bin it will be classed as 'contaminated'.
Find out what goes in your bins.
Our crews regularly check the red recycling bins to make sure they are free from non-recyclable items, known as contaminants before emptying it.
What happens if you put wrong items in your bin?
If your red or green bin is put out for collection containing notable amounts of wrong items, it will not be emptied. This is to prevent the contamination of the whole vehicle load, which could result in it being rejected for recycling and diverted to landfill.
Where the bin has not been collected because there are wrong items in it, a crew member will log a contamination report and leave a contamination sticker on the bin informing what can be recycled. You will then receive a follow up letter, notifying why the bin was left along with information on recycling.
A “three strikes” policy will be implemented whereby red bins are removed from households that contaminate bins on three occasions and fail to respond to advice.
- Take out the wrong items from your bin; correctly dispose.
- Remove the contamination sticker from your bin.
- Re-present your bin on the next relevant collection day.
How can I avoid contaminating my recycling bin
There are some simple steps which you can take to ensure that your recycling will be collected, as follows:
- Items should be put in your bin clean, dry and loose: Rinse out plastic bottles, glass jars, food and drink cans.
- Don't bag it: there's no need for plastic bags - place your recyclables loose into your red and green bin
- Take care with plastics: currently plastic bottles are the only plastic that can be recycled in your red bin. Use your black bin for all other plastics i.e. plastic food trays, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, ice cream containers, crisp packets and plastic film.
- Remove textiles: the kerbsite recycling service does not accept textiles as they get caught up in the sorting machines and are easily spoiled when mixed with other materials in a bin. Textiles and shoes can be recycled at the household waste recycling centre or one of the recycle bring banks across the borough; alternatively, you can donate unwanted textiles to charity shops.
- Keep food out: please don’t put food waste into the red or green recycling bin - even tiny amounts can spoil large batches of recyclable material. Use your black bin or home composter instead.
- Check before you chuck: we know that it can be difficult to remember what does and doesn’t go into your bins, so check what goes in my bins.