3,000 nappies hand-removed from recycling waste EVERY DAY in Suffolk

Black bags spoiling good recycling.

Black bags spoiling good recycling. - Credit: Suffolk County Council

More than 10,000 tonnes of Suffolk recycling waste has to be rejected each year because of contamination from wrong items being put in bins, shock new figures have indicated - including 3,000 nappies per day being removed by hand.

It equates to around 20% of all recycling waste having to be rejected - one in five lorries.

Suffolk Waste Partnership data indicated the extent of recycling waste contamination problems have on waste batches, the environment and the taxpayer.

It found that 20% of all recycling waste had to be rejected because of contamination, costing Suffolk taxpayers more than £1million.

Figures presented to East Suffolk Council last month said that 3,000 nappies were wrongly put in recycling bins every day - equating to 150 tones of nappies each year in the county.

A bus stop with Suffolk Waste Partnership's poster urging people not to put nappies in recycling bins

Suffolk Waste Partnership has campaigns urging people not to put nappies in recycling bins, after it emerged more than 3,000 nappies per day had to be removed by hand - Credit: Suffolk Waste Partnership


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The most common contaminants incorrectly put in recycling bins were:

  • Nappies
  • Food waste
  • Glass
  • Black bin bags
  • Plastic bags
  • Cartons
  • Textiles

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Campaigns are underway alongside Keep Britain Tidy urging people to get their recycling right.

A spokeswoman from Suffolk Waste Partnership said: “Putting the wrong things in your recycling bin is a big problem for Suffolk, and indeed nationwide.

"Each year more than 10,000 tonnes - about 20% - of recycling from Suffolk homes is rejected due to the wrong items being put in recycling bins. This is the same as one in five lorries full of recycling going to waste.

"Sorting and disposing of this spoiled recycling not only is a cost for the environment, as good recycling resources are ruined, but also costs Suffolk taxpayers over £1million.

“The 3,000 nappies that end up at our Materials Recycling Facility every day need removing from the recycling by hand, which is something most of us would agree, is a particularly unpleasant task.

A bin full of the right recycling.

A bin full of the right recycling. - Credit: Suffolk County Council.

“Nappies aren’t the only thing that is ruining our recycling. Glass, food waste, black sacks and plastic bags, cartons and textiles are also ‘top offenders’ that spoil our recycling efforts.

"Nappies, food waste and black sacks need to go in the regular rubbish bin, while glass, cartons and textiles can be recycled elsewhere, such as at bottle banks or at recycling centres.

“The best way to tackle this problem is to help people know what to put in their recycling bin in the first place. We recently sent leaflets to every household in Suffolk with a handy guide stating what can be recycled and where, this information is also available via social media and online."

To check what items can be put in recycling bins and which ones can be recycled at recycling centres, visit the Suffolk Recycling website here.


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