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Kirklees: Recycling contamination costs council £400,000 a year

Label on green bin
Recycling bin contamination costs the council between £400k and £450k each year, a meeting was told

Recycling bins being contaminated with used nappies and food waste are costing Kirklees Council more than £400,000 a year, it has been revealed.

The problem was also behind the area's "desperately poor" recycling rate of just 26.3%, a council meeting was told.

This compared to the national average of 44.1%.

One council officer warned the service might be withdrawn in areas where recycling facilities continued to be abused.

Graham West, service director for Highways, Waste and Streetscene, told the meeting work to provide additional facilities for recycling was "significant", but he said "what we face, similar to many local authorities, is the culture and behaviour of people within the borough".

"I think that if facilities are being provided which are being abused then at a point, having revisited, educated, discussed, informed and warned, then we'll have no other option other than to look at removing that opportunity for those people to recycle," he warned.

'Contaminated bins confiscated'

Mr West told the meeting of the Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Panel that removing the service might seem like an "aggressive" tactic, but he said the authority could not continue to "divert loads that should be going for recycling into areas that cost us significantly more."

"We're now on the cusp of a figure projecting around £400,000-£450,000 whereby we're having to divert loads which should be recycled. Now that's just not sustainable at this particular time," he added.

Councillor Will Simpson explained the vast majority of contamination came from nappies and food and that educational work was being carried out to address the issue.

Meanwhile, Councillor John Taylor said there was a "huge disparity" between contamination in the north and south of Kirklees, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

He added that in the south of the borough, a scheme had resulted in contaminated bins being confiscated, but this had not been rolled out in the north.

Mr Taylor suggested the measure could be part of the solution to Kirklees' low recycling rate.

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