Posted: 29.08.19 at 12:41 by Cllr Ashley Baxter
Recycling efforts in South Kesteven are being hampered by increasing levels of contamination of the weekly silver bin recycling system.
Recent figures have revealed that during the last three years contamination rates have increased from 20% to over 30% meaning that almost a third of so-called 'recycling' ends up in landfill.
There are a number of factors causing the contamination including confusion around what can be recycled under the scheme. For example, most plastic bottles can be recycled via the bins while many other types of plastic packaging cannot.
This is exacerbated by people trying to recycle batteries, clothes and shoes via the bins, while others even put used nappies in the recycling bin.
A further problem is caused by contamination by food waste. Residue from cans and bottles can cause them to be rejected by the recycling industry. This could be solved by simply rinsing out items before putting them in the silver bin. A small pilot scheme for food waste collection in parts of South Kesteven is also helping to address the issue albeit in a limited way.
The overall cost of recycling has also risen due to the withdrawal of recycling credits by Lincolnshire County Council as par of its austerity budgeting. Consequently, the budget for awareness raising and education around recycling has evaporated.
Cllr Ashley Baxter, who represents Market and West Deeping ward, obtained the data via a Freedom of Information request, says: "Almost everyone who uses the silver recycling bins does so with good intention. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness and clarity around the silver bins has resulted in confusion and contamination which, in turn, is leading to reduced recycling rates and unnecessary use of landfill and incineration.
"As councils, communities and individuals, we face an existential crisis from climate change yet we can't even get to grips with relatively simple issues like waste recycling.".