Perth and Kinross has a contamination situation!
Since lock down last March, we have seen a rise in the amount of material collected in blue bins at the kerbside, however not all items going into these bins are recyclable. The average contamination rate for 2020 came out at 22.4%, peaking as high as 29% in November. All of this material has been placed in the wrong bin.
Contamination matters. It costs the Council money in processing fees and penalties, ruins the hard work of those recycling correctly and contributes to climate change through the disposal of valuable resources. We need your help to improve this.
Stick to the Six
We understand that home life can be very busy so we have put together a simple list of the main six types of material to recycle in your blue bin. By only recycling the items listed, you can help us reduce the amount of contamination in blue bins. Here are the Six:
- Paper - including letters, newspapers, magazines, envelopes (including windowed), catalogues and directories
- Cardboard - including packaging and boxes, tubes from toilet and kitchen roll
- Plastic bottles - including (all with their tops on) drinks, detergent, shampoo, sauce and oil bottles
- Plastic containers - including yoghurt pots, punnets, trays and tubs (N.B. Plant pots cannot be recycled via the blue bin).
- Cans and tins - including food and drinks cans, biscuit tins and empty aerosol cans
- Cartons - including Tetrapak and Purepak
Please remember to rinse, flatten and place your items loose in to your blue bin.
If in doubt, keep it out!
Making a difference
Contamination is classed as any material out with those accepted in the blue bins. This can include: plastic film; polythene; crisp packets; tissues, kitchen roll and paper towels; carrier bags; black bags; foil, foil trays or food pouches; food; clothes, shoes and other textiles; biscuit or food wrappers; cleaning cloths or wipes; face masks and gloves; nappies; animal bedding or waste; photographs; gas canisters; scrap metal; electrical items; hard plastic toys, car parts or furniture; greasy pizza boxes and other recyclates covered in food; glass and polystyrene.
Contamination costs money
We understand that not everyone is perfect, and that mistakes happen, therefore we can accept a small percentage of contamination in blue bins. However, if we exceed the agreed rate, we are subject to additional charges for removing and disposing of contaminated material.
Between July and December, the Council paid out £50,000 in additional charges due to contamination. The figure for January and February alone is £17,650. This is money that would be better spent in our communities and in improving services rather than paying penalties.
Contamination ruins the hard work of others recycling correctly
When items such as food waste, nappies or liquids are placed in blue bins, they have the potential to spread and soil clean recycling. Materials such as paper and cardboard can be damaged rendering them unrecyclable. Soiled materials have to be removed and disposed of, losing all potential value.
In addition to ruining the actual recycling, residents can be put off making the effort to recycle when they see others contaminating bins, especially shared communal bins. Help spread the message of "Stick to the Six" to let your neighbours know how simple recycling can be.
Contamination contributes to climate change
Did you know contamination contributes to climate change? When we recycle, materials are kept within circulation being transformed in to new products over and over again. By using material sourced from recycling, it prevents the need to extract raw resources from the Earth such as oil, metal ore or timber.
What do I do if my bin is contaminated?
If your blue bin is tagged as contaminated, remove the incorrect materials and re-present on your next scheduled blue bin day. Any excess recycling can either be taken to your nearest Recycling Centre, or stored and decanted over the next few collections.
If your bin is heavily contaminated or you are unable to remove the incorrect items, householders can call our Customer Service Centre to arrange a chargeable uplift to empty the bin as waste. This uplift costs £5 and can be arranged by calling 01738 476476. Collections usually take place on the same day as your green bin uplift.
For more information on recycling items such as plastic bags, polythene and film, visit our reusing and recycling more pages.