The amount of rubbish being rejected for recycling in the UK has risen by 84% in the last four years.
This happens when unrecyclable waste is put in recycling bins, “contaminating” the recyclable waste and resulting in an expensive re-sorting process. Councils are reluctant to spend lots of money on this so the whole bin of mainly recyclable waste is sent to landfill.
The UK rejected 338,000 tons of recyclable waste in 2014/15, an increase from 184,000 tons in 2011/12.
The national average rate of rejection is 3% but some councils have seen much higher figures, for instance Kirklees in West Yorkshire hit a staggering 14.99% in 2014/15.
Waste reduction charity WRAP has called for greater consistency about what can be collected – there are about 300 recycling schemes operating independently across England.
It says it is working with government and industry to devise “a consistent set of guidelines nationally”.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said progress has been made in boosting recycling rates but acknowledged more needs to be done.