OXFORD City Council is reminding city households to put the right materials in their recycling bins and says £12,000 of taxpayers' money was wasted in six weeks as a result.

It says most city residents 'recycle very well' but incorrect items mean good quality material can end up being rejected.

Recycling should be 'loose, rinsed and squashed with any excess in a clear sack or cardboard box'.

Incorrect items in blue recycling bins include food and food-soiled items, black bin liners, nappies and textiles. If included, they can lead to an entire load being rejected.

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In the three weeks prior to July, six bulk loads of recycling were rejected due to unacceptable items, meaning over 110 tonnes of recycling have have been sent to energy recovery for disposal, costing around £12,000.

In comparison to May, June has seen an estimated 10 per cent increase in contamination.

Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Customer Focused Services, said: “We need to do all we can to minimise the loss of good recycling. Just a few wrong items in the recycling can result in a whole load being rejected and increase the cost of disposal.

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"This is a real pity when we have made significant strides towards being a clean, green city. Domestic recycling rates have steadily increased every year since 2010, from around 43 per cent to over 51 per cent. Rubbish in the green bins has also decreased over the same period by almost 22 per cent and I want to thank those who have made the effort to reduce and recycle.

"Now we need to step up our efforts to stop recycling becoming mixed with the wrong items."

Since wheelie bins were introduced to Oxford in 2010 it has been a consistent policy not to collect bins containing the wrong items. Oxford Direct Services (ODS), which provides the bin collection service, places a sticker on a bin with unacceptable items signalling why it has not been collected.

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Simon Howick, Managing Director of ODS, said: “Due to the safety of our crew and the privacy of residents, the collection crew is unable to remove any incorrect items and the Council requires evidence to the contrary to overturn their report.”

More information about the city’s recycling and rubbish collection policies can be found at https://bit.ly/2Ja6jyT