Dirty nappies, dog waste, used takeaway boxes and a dismantled fridge have all found their way into recycling bins put out for collection.
The non-recyclable items have been listed by council chiefs as some of the things crews have found when attempting to empty the bins.
Now, residents are being warned they are running the risk of not having their bins emptied if they don’t follow recycling guidelines.
The move comes in a bid to reduce the amount of contaminated waste finding its way into trucks which can be rejected by the council’s contracted waste processors.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We know that the vast majority of residents use the doorstep recycling service correctly and have helped us to increase recycling and divert thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill over the years.
“Unfortunately, there is a small minority of people who are placing non-recyclable materials in their blue bins. This not only contaminates the recyclable waste in their bin, but contaminates the entire load collected on that round.
It is really important that the material collected through the blue bin system is strictly recyclable to ensure that the processors of our recycling goods do not have cause to reject any loads from us.Council spokesman
“It is really important that the material collected through the blue bin system is strictly recyclable to ensure that the processors of our recycling goods do not have cause to reject any loads from us. We really need the public to help us and work with us to tackle this issue by using the service correctly.”
Blue bins identified as being contaminated will not be collected and will have a black and yellow tape placed over them. It is then the resident’s responsibility to clear the contamination from their blue recycling bin in order for it to be collected on their next scheduled collection date.
Around 37 per of waste collected across South Tyneside is recycled, reused or composted. There is a target for the UK to recycle at least 50 per cent by 2020.
However, latest figures show that around 1,700 tonnes of mixed recycling material collected on the blue bin service (enough to fill around 340 bin lorries) is being rejected due to contamination, and then having to be sent for further expensive processing.
The spokesperson added: “We take the quality and contamination of recyclable materials extremely seriously which is why our crews are very careful about what they collect.
“They cannot collect any blue bins containing items that contaminate the load such as food, household and green waste, dog waste and used nappies. This also includes cardboard pizza or takeaway boxes which are stained or dirty with food residue.
“If just one non-recycable item is included with recyclable items, the entire load of otherwise high quality recyclable material is effectively contaminated and rejected. It would have to be re-sorted, which puts a significant strain on the Council’s resources.
“We would like to remind residents that our bin collection crews are just carrying out their duties when emptying bins and identifying those which are contaminated. We are asking residents to enable them to continue to go about their rounds and duties freely and note that they may not have time to discuss contaminated bin issues at the doorstep.”
Items which can be put into the blue bin include:
Clean food and drinks cans;
Glass bottles and jars;
Cardboard (except cardboard pizza or takeaway boxes stained or dirty with food residue);
Plastic bottles and even small electrical appliances;
Paper, junk mail, catalogues, newspapers and magazines go in the inner black caddy.
Textiles and clothing should be disposed of at recycling sites or using charity collections.
For information about waste and recycling and full details about what items can and cannot be recycled visit the council’s website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling