Amount of rubbish wrongly put in borough's green bins soars by 18pc

Breckland councillors have raised concerns about Serco bin staff

The amount of wrong waste put in green bins has soared - Credit: IAN BURT

More than 1,700 tonnes of household rubbish was incorrectly put in green recycling bins across the borough of Great Yarmouth in a year, government figures show.

The figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also show the amount of items wrongly placed in recycling bins across the borough rose by 18pc.

The 12 month figures up to March 2021 show 1,764 tonnes of waste collected in green bins by the borough council was rejected in the recycling sorting system.

It was a rise of 18pc, compared to the 12 months up to March 2020 when 1,499 tonnes of waste was rejected in the sorting system.

The rise meant there was a £164,052 annual cost from April 2020 to March 2021 to the taxpayer to dispose of the incorrectly placed items.

The rise led to Great Yarmouth Borough Council reminding households of the importance of putting the rights items in their recycling bins.

The council is also gearing up for a campaign that will target areas where green bin contamination is a problem.

Paul Wells, chairman of the council's environment committee, said: “Putting the correct items in the correct bin is important.

"Putting the wrong items in your recycling bin can spoil the rest of the recyclable items and can result in increasing the cost of your recycling collection service, reduce the quality and value of our recycling material and reduce the amount we recycle, as spoiling your recycling bin can result in it being sent for general waste disposal.

A green recycling wheelie and bin and a black rubbish bin outside a home in Great Yarmouth.

A green recycling wheelie bin and a black rubbish bin outside a home in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

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"We have an upcoming campaign with Norfolk Waste Partnership, which through targeting areas where recycling contamination levels in the borough are higher than expected, we hope will help us reduce those levels and help residents understand what can and cannot be recycled.”

In the Broadland area the figures for the 12 months up to March 2021 show there was a 20pc increase in waste in recycling bins being rejected, with 2,467 tonnes compared to 2,064 tonnes the previous period.

The cost to the taxpayer for April 2020 to March 2021 in Broadland was £229, 431.

Broadland District Councillor Judy Leggett, who is the portfolio holder of environmental excellence, said: “You can now recycle more items in Broadland than ever before, and soon we will be introducing kerb-side, waste electrical and material collections.

“When the wrong items go in the recycling bin, it costs money to remove them – money that could be spent on vital services.

"This is also true if things haven’t been rinsed as they can contaminate other items which may have to be separated to be washed or even thrown away.

“It might sound strange to ask our residents to rinse things that they’re putting in their bins but if the items are not clean they can’t be recycled.

"If they're covered in food it might mean that everything in that bin and possibly even the lorry will be contaminated and the whole load will then have to be disposed of as general waste.

“You can find out what goes in which bin by visiting our website and please remember you cannot put nappies in your recycling bin.”

In North Norfolk there was a 6pc rise in incorrectly placed items in recycling bins, with 2,606 tonnes of waste being rejected, at a cost to the tax payer of £242, 358.

Nationally the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows 647,000 tonnes of waste collected by local councils were rejected at the point of sorting in the year to March.

It was 122,000 tonnes more than was rejected the previous year and the largest volume since records began.

Recycling charity Wrap estimates that waste disposed of as recycling, which is then found not to be recyclable, costs councils around £93 per tonne to dispose of.

For information on recycling visit