Councils are burning and burying tons of carefully sorted recycling, and this practice has nearly doubled in the last three years, according to the results of a freedom of information request.
Figures acquired by the Daily Mail show that councils dispose of tons of recycling because it has become ‘contaminated’ by materials that have been sorted incorrectly.
Officials told The Daily Mail it is cheaper to incinerate or bury recycling that has mixed with non-recyclable waste than it is to pay for it to be sorted properly.
In 2012, the newspaper reports, some 184,000 metric tons of recycling were thrown away. This figure increased by 84% last year to 338,000.
The London boroughs of Newham, and Hammersmith and Fulham are reported to have the worst records for rejecting recycling. They see 20 bins of recycled waste rejected for every 100 that get accepted.
Manchester City Council has the poorest record outside of the capital. It turns away 18 bins for every 100 that are recycled.
Peter Box, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), responded to the findings: ‘If recycling becomes contaminated then it has to be sent to landfill. Allowing councils to identify and work with people who misunderstand or make mistakes when sorting their rubbish is important. ’