One in Five Recycling Sacks in Milton Keynes
is ‘too contaminated to recycle’
One in five recycling sacks in Milton Keynes is too contaminated to be recycled. Since the council switched from pink sacks to clear ones earlier this year, the true extent of the problem became clear.
Residents say that they were shocked to see their recycling being thrown in the back of the lorry with their general waste after they had taken the time to carefully recycle.
A council spokesman said that one in five sacks collected is unsuitable for recycling because it contains items like crisp packets and sweet wrappers which can’t be recycled because they have a metallic plastic film on the inside. Other items which frequently contaminate recycling are dirty nappies, broken glass and textiles which have to be removed by hand at the Materials Recycling Facility.
The reason that the council changed from pink sacks to clear ones was so that refuse teams could spot any contaminants more easily before they reach the facility.
The council also recently changed its policy on supplying extra recycling sacks to residents. Residents now have to order them online, and each household is allowed up to 180 sacks per year. If they need more than this, or if they are found to be using sacks for things they aren’t meant to be used for, they will have to buy extra sacks at cost price from the council. The council will give advice on how to reduce sacks usage, such as squashing cans and plastic bottles to make more room. It says that the average sack use is currently 120 sacks per year, and they are reducing misuse by levying a charge on extra sacks.
How to avoid contaminating your recycling
Many people think that recycling can be difficult and time-consuming, when really all it takes is a little extra effort and some awareness. Here’s how you can avoid contaminating your recycling:
Check the rules
Check what your local authority accepts and does not accept for recycling. This information will be on their website. If something can’t be recycled at home, there will usually be a recycling bank or facility that you can take the items to.
Check the label
Packaging labels will indicate whether something is widely recycled or not. If it’s not, be sure to put it in with your general waste.
Do you need to separate waste?
Many local authorities accept mixed recycling, but if you have separate bins or containers for certain materials, why not have a separate bag or box in your kitchen so you can recycle plastic, paper, and glass at source? This will make it much easier when the time comes to sort it into the different outside bins. It’s a good way of getting the kids involved too.
Give containers a rinse
If containers get to the recycling centre and they are full of food debris, it can make the recycling process a lot more difficult. It only takes a few seconds to rinse a container before you put it in the recycling bin.