Ashford Borough Council Warns Residents Over Contaminated Waste


Ashford Borough Council is cracking down on contaminated waste and has warned residents that recycling bins will not be collected if incorrect items are placed inside.

A similar crackdown last year saw residents make significant improvements to their recycling habits, but standards have reportedly slipped and a substantial number of waste loads are being rejected due to contaminated waste.

A spokesman for Ashford Borough Council said: “Once again we are cracking down on contamination by encouraging residents to recycle smart to ensure their bins are collected. We are working closely with Biffa to ensure that the recycling collected is of the highest quality, but we need our residents to help us achieve this. Biffa staff will now be checking what is being placed in recycling bins to try and ensure that the loads collected are clean and can be recycled.”

This latest crackdown will see waste collection operatives on the lookout for items incorrectly placed in recycling bins such as carrier bags, dark plastic food trays, sanitary waste and garden items. If they find an unrecyclable item in a bin, then the crew will not collect it for that week and residents will be advised to take their waste to the KCC Household Waste Recycling Centre for disposal instead.

A single unrecyclable item can potentially contaminate a whole load, which could represent as many as 500 households that have carefully separated the right materials for recycling.

Every waste load rejected at the recycling plant costs both Ashford Borough Council, as waste contractors, and Kent County Council, as waste disposal. The cost for every truck load of waste rejected at the recycling plant is £14,000.

Cllr Clair Bell, Portfolio Holder for Public Interaction and Borough Presentation said: “We do appreciate that understanding which plastics are recyclable can be confusing. However, earlier this year we sent out a leaflet with top tips on recycling so it’s certainly worth residents referring to their copy.”

She added: “New EU regulations on what can and cannot be recycled mean we have been encouraging everyone to ‘recycle smart’ to reduce the amount of contamination found in our waste loads. Our Biffa crew have always checked the quality of recycling materials they are collecting, but due to recent loads being rejected at the recycling plant, now we are having to be stricter.”

The main items collection crews will be looking for are sanitary waste (nappies, sanitary towels, tampons, wipes), plastic carrier bags, black sacks and soft plastics like crisp packets and sweet wrappers.

Any residents who are unsure whether a particular item can be recycled are being urged to use their ‘Wheel of waste’ tool or visit the Ashford Borough Council website

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