The amount of waste recycled by South Holland residents is on the up – but could be even higher if contamination is reduced.
More than 659 tonnes was collected in April – up from 585 tonnes in February. That’s a rise of 12.6 per cent.
The latest figures cover the period since the district council’s Green Bag Lottery recycling reward scheme was introduced.
However, contamination – items placed in green bags which cannot be recycled – is a continuing problem which the waste and recycling team is trying hard to tackle.
Common items include food waste, crisp packets, nappies, garden waste, electrical cabling and small electrical equipment.
District council waste and recycling officer Laura Simpkins said: “Contamination can cause operational problems when the materials get to the Materials Recycling Facility.
“If contaminated items are not spotted in the sorting areas they can damage equipment.
“Shutting the plant down for just 15 minutes can cost around £500.”
Contaminated recycling will not be accepted by the district council’s recycling processors and depending on the level and type of contamination, it could result in a whole vehicle load being rejected and sent to disposal.
Laura added: “Even when green bags contain small amounts of contamination, if that is multiplied by the number of households on a round, which can reach in the region of 1,000 to 1,500, then you are looking at significant levels in one vehicle load.
“Currently our contam-ination rate is around 12 per cent, which is quite high but there are lots of schemes and educational projects which are aiming to reduce this and help boost our recycling rate.”
The Green Bag Lottery is one campaign that aims to help residents become more aware of what they recycle and improve rates.
Launched earlier this year using a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the scheme rewards randomly-selected households with £100 cash if they demonstrate good recycling over a four-week period.