The publication of statistics on “contaminated” recycled materials has led to criticism of local councils.

According to telegraph.co.uk, the latest ‘Waste Data Flow’ report shows that the proportion of recycled material that has had to be rejected and sent to landfill sites has increased by 40 per cent in the past five years – it stood at 180,000 tonnes for 2011/12. A survey of four London areas found 20 per cent of rubbish sent for sorting is rejected.

Ray Georgeson, chief executive of the Resource Association, placed the blame on local councils for not sorting the recycled materials properly. The rejected materials reportedly cost reprocessors £51 million, as batches cannot be used or must be amended.

He said: “The drive for quantity has come in part at the expense of quality, and what might be seen as the delivery of cost savings at the collection end of recycling appears simply to be shifting costs into the manufacturing end of recycling. We question how long must the UK reprocessing sector carry this burden.”

One suggestion put forward is for consumers to have different recycling bins for each type of material, as this could prevent as much contamination, which occurs when the wrong type of material ends up in a recycling bin or when an appropriate material is not fit to be recycled.

The Environmental Services Association has also entered the debate, reports mrw.co.uk, saying that it is important for reprocessors to know exactly what they are buying. A consultation on the subject is due to be published in January 2013.

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