Recycling from five bin wagons rejected due to contamination

Five bin wagons of recycling were rejected in Redcar and Cleveland last month due to a high level of contamination, prompting a plea to a small number of residents to check their waste before placing it in their blue bins.

One of the loads was contaminated with paint, which spread through the wagon and made all other items unrecyclable.

The other four rejected loads were heavily contaminated with plastic bags, nappies, clothing, and food waste, which led to infestations of flies and maggots.

These loads could not be sorted without putting staff at risk or damaging equipment.

The average household in Redcar and Cleveland recycles approximately 300kg during a year. The quantity of rejected recycling in September due to contamination – 30 tonnes – is equivalent to the amount recycled by 100 households in one year.

Redcar and Cleveland Council is working with residents to raise awareness of what can and cannot be recycled.

The main contaminants, which the Council is urging residents not to put in their blue bins, are:

  • Nappies;
  • Plastic bags;
  • Food waste;
  • Clothes and textiles;
  • Takeaway boxes;
  • Polystyrene;
  • Electrical items and batteries 

Some items marked as recyclable, such as carrier bags, are difficult to process and therefore not accepted at the recycling facility used by the Council. Carrier bags can be reused, and some major supermarkets have schemes in place to recycle them.

Recyclable items accepted are cans, tins, cardboard, plastic pots, tubs and trays, glass bottles and jars and plastic bottles and residents are asked to wash food containers before discarding them in the blue bin.

Cllr Barry Hunt, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Housing, said: “The equivalent of an entire year of recycling efforts from 100 households has been lost in one month. One contaminated bin can impact an entire recycling collection, create significant additional costs, and affect the environment.

“We are very grateful to the many residents who take the time to recycle and help us to avoid as much waste as possible going to landfill. We want to work with people in our borough to recycle more and create a more sustainable environment for the future. Avoiding contamination would make a huge difference and the Council will always make efforts to provide information, guidance and support to any residents who aim to recycle more and avoid contaminating the content of their blue bins.”

Further information about recycling and contaminants can be found at Recycling A-Z | Redcar and Cleveland (