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People still putting wrong items in bins

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:46 02 July 2010

Waste, cardboard sorted at News at Costessey for recycling

Waste, cardboard sorted at News at Costessey for recycling

Kate Scotter

Families across Norwich are being urged to be careful of what they put out for recycling after the high cost in some parts of Norfolk of people putting the wrong items in their bins was revealed.

Families across Norwich are being urged to be careful of what they put out for recycling after the high cost in some parts of Norfolk of people putting the wrong items in their bins was revealed.

Contaminated refuse, mostly containing plastic such as packaging and food trays, that cannot be handled by the recycling facility at Costessey, just outside of Norwich, cost South Norfolk Council £65,000 last year and North Norfolk Council more than £88,000.

In a bid to save time and money, people were today reminded to only put plastic bottles, cans and paper into their recycling bins.

David Bills, South Norfolk's cabinet member for the environment, said: “I've nothing but praise for the commitment of our residents who every day, patiently and carefully sort through their rubbish and recycling to make sure less and less waste goes into landfill. “We continue to work alongside our communities to get contamination down further.”

Rogue margarine and ice cream tubs, yoghurt pots and food trays are some of the main contaminants but some people also put nappies, video tapes, medical sharps and shredded paper into their recycling when they should not.

Contamination is a major problem for Norfolk Environmental Waste Services Ltd (NEWS), which serves all seven district councils in the county at its Costessey recycling centre, as it is time consuming to sort, can damage the machinery and can be hazardous to staff. All the materials that cannot be recycled have to be separated and are then taken to landfill.

Checks are carried out on councils' recycling every few months to see the scale of contamination. The Norfolk figure for contamination was 13pc while South Norfolk's rate was 10.65pc on average for 2008/09.

Norwich City Council could not provide a figure for the cost of dealing with contamination but for 2008/09, its contamination was just under 6pc.

A City Hall spokesman said: “People are doing a great job in Norwich recycling more all the time, but it is really important to keep your recycling clean and only put the right things out to be recycled.

“Generally residents are putting the right things in the right bin, but there is always room for improvement - we would really urge people to check what can go into their bin and box on their collection calendar - especially plastics as we can't collect any other plastics apart from bottles.”

Do you have an environment story for the Evening News? Call Tara Greaves on 01603 772446 or email tara.greaves@archant.co.uk

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