Fife Council collected more than 100,000 tonnes of recycling last year – more than any other Scottish local authority.
But while it has commended Fifers for their support in maintaining the kingdom as one of the best performing councils for recycling in Scotland, the cost of separating out and disposing of items going in the wrong bin is giving cause for concern.
In 2016, Fife Council had to landfill over 3,400 tonnes of waste from brown bins – nearly 10% of the contents of all brown bins in Fife.
And 529 tonnes of incorrect waste was found in grey bins – a contamination rate of over 3.5%.
Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of Fife Council’s environment, protective services and community safety committee, said: “Recycling makes good sense, both economically and environmentally.
“If the contamination of the recycling bins is reduced, then more waste can be sent for recycling, less waste would have to be landfilled and there would be huge savings in landfill tax, which could be used to improve services.
“When recycling bins become contaminated it often means that some or all of what is in the bin cannot be recycled.
“This spoils the excellent efforts most people are making in separating their household waste and means that the council has additional costs to dispose of it in landfill.”
The council says examples of incorrect items often found in recycling bins include:
* plastic wrapping and polystyrene in grey bins that should have gone in the green bin
* animal waste and pet bedding found in the brown bin that should have gone in the blue landfill waste bin
* electrical items in the green bin that could have gone to a recycling centre and toys that could have gone to a charity shop
Tips to help avoid contamination include:
* plastic carrier bags, which can go in the green bin, should be empty and not hold other cans and plastic items
* general waste and nappies should not be put into any recycling bin but put into the blue landfill waste bin
* food waste should be removed from any wrapping before recycling (or put in dedicated food waste bags)
To find out more about what can be recycled in your recycling bins visit www.fifedirect.org.uk/4bins or call the Recycling Helpline on 03451 55 00 22.