Across East Sussex residents recycle 43 per cent of their waste but recently more of the wrong things are being found in the recycling collected from households.
General rubbish, textiles and food are the most common items that are being incorrectly disposed of in the county’s household recycling bins.
This can result in whole lorry-loads of recycling that is unable to be recycled because it has been spoilt by food or other waste that should not be there.
Almost 300 tonnes of recycling collected in East Sussex has been rejected over the first three months of this year, with more than 177 tonnes turned away from the recycling processing plant in February alone.
Recycling is rejected when it contains too much of the wrong material for it to be successfully turned into new products.
Once rejected by the processing plant the entire lorry-load of recycling is sent for disposal instead, which has an environmental impact and results in additional costs.
General rubbish and food waste should only be placed in residents’ household waste bins and never in recycling bins.
Food spoils the recycling because it gets smeared over clean materials which means they can no longer be recycled and have to be disposed of instead.
Residents are reminded to empty and clean containers before recycling them. Ensuring items are free from any left-over contents means they can be recycled and improves the quality and quantity of the recycling material.
Although they can be reused, textiles should never be mixed with household recycling as they can get caught in, and cause damage to, sorting equipment.
Unwanted textiles can be donated to local charity shops, placed in a clothing bank or taken to one of the ten Household Waste Recycling Sites across the county.
Karl Taylor, head of operations at East Sussex County Council, said: “By ensuring they put the right items in the right bin at home residents can help us recycle more waste, reduce costs and help the environment.
“And to help make sure your recycling is as clean as possible, please remember to wash pots, tubs, bottles and jars before recycling them. Items don’t have to be perfectly clean, just a quick rinse in your washing up water is enough.”
Recycling and waste collection services in East Sussex are provided by the local district and borough councils. East Sussex County Council is responsible for the disposal, recovery and recycling of the collected material.
For more information on household rubbish and recycling collections and contact information for local councils, visit https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/rubbish-recycling/rubbish-collection