Tonnes of recycling ‘rejected at sorting point’

More than half a million tonnes of household recycling was rejected at the point of sorting in 2019/20 because of non-recyclable materials being placed in household bins, the LGA has reported.

Councils and households working together have made a real shift over the past decade to ensure they are recycling as much as possible, and councils work hard to share information on what can and can’t be recycled. Subsequently, the amount of plastic packaging collected by councils has doubled over the past 10 years. But manufacturers are still producing and distributing plastic packaging that cannot be recycled and failing to contribute to the cost of disposal, according to the LGA.

Each tonne of waste collected from a household recycling bin that can’t be recycled costs around £93 to dispose of through an ‘energy from waste’ facility – equating to more £48 million a year in avoidable costs.

Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s Environment Spokesperson, said: “At a time when councils are working towards achieving net zero, they are doing so with one hand tied behind their back courtesy of manufacturers who are littering our communities with plastic they know cannot be disposed of sustainably.

“We will be working with government and the waste industry as part of the Environment Bill to ensure this issue is addressed, and to understand the impact of the ban on exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries.

“While exporting our waste was never a suitable solution, the sudden additional responsibility and cost for councils is clearly a concern.”

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