Household paper recycling rates in South Tyneside are on the up – but council chiefs are warning more needs to be done to match neighbouring authorities.
Despite a jump from 10 percent to 16 percent, other North East councils have already hit the 20 percent mark, latest figures show.
And recycling bosses are warning that too many householders are continuing to dispose of the wrong items in their blue bins.
Often found items include nappies, food waste, clothing, plastic bags, garden waste, wood and other non-target materials.
They say this is causing contamination, which costs South Tyneside Council over £800 for each rejected load.
The problem is adding to wasted staff hours and can impact on the relationships the council enjoys with recycling contractor partners.
The figures are revealed by Bill McGill, the council’s technical officer, in a report this week to the Riverside Community Area Forum.
The forum covers the Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Rekendyke, West Park and Westoe wards.
Mr McGill said the quality of materials needed to improve, a situation which had led to a more robust reporting system and work to identify the poorest performing areas in terms of quality.
His report states: “We must ensure that the material collected is of good quality to be used by reprocessors in an increasingly competitive materials market.
“Don’t place the wrong materials in the blue bin. If in doubt, put in your grey bin.”
Waste education officers have now been employed to visit householders and raise awareness on using blue bins correctly.
Mr McGill said quality checks on paper were taking place at a recycling centre at Team Valley, Gateshead.
South Tyneside Homes, the council’s housing management arm, was also working with partners to improve quality, he added.
Statistics show that 12,000 tonnes of material is collected every year in South Tyneside.
This is made up of 1,600 tonnes of paper and 10,500 tonnes of mixed material.
Mr McGill said residents should place paper waste, such as envelopes, catalogues, telephone directories, office paper, junk mail, in the caddy in their blue bin.
Newspaper and magazines collected in South Tyneside are sent to a paper mill in Norfolk, where they made into paper products including newspapers.