TAXPAYERS in Wiltshire forked out an estimated £862,110 to deal with waste wrongly thrown in household recycling bins last year. 

According to data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), 8,980 tonnes of waste collected by Wiltshire Council was rejected in the year to March. 

However, council cabinet member for waste, Mark McClelland said the DEFRA figures don’t match what was submitted by the local authority. 

In 2020/21 over 52,000 tonnes of kerbside recycling was collected compared with 45,000 tonnes in the previous year. 

“The amount reported as rejected tonnage requiring disposal was 4,450 tonnes in 2019/20 and 9,270 in 2020/21,” he told the LDRS.  

“Part of the reason for this increase is the uplift in material collected as kerbside recycling following a planned move to a commingled collection system, which makes it easier for people to place a wider range of mixed materials in one bin to be sorted later.”

Recycling charity Wrap, which works with companies and government on sustainability estimates that rubbish wrongly recycled costs local authorities around £93 per tonne. 

This means that rejected recycling cost the council an estimated £862,110 – according to its corrected figures. 

The rise in recycling was because people were following the stay at home orders passed down by government during the pandemic, said Cllr McLelland.

This resulted in some attempting to recycle waste in their blue bins the council cannot current process. 

“We do aim to reduce the amount rejected to less than 10 per cent over the next 12 months, based on waste facility input tonnage, and before Christmas we ran a social media campaign to remind people of some of the things that they should not put in their recycling bin in order to reduce the amount of waste that is rejected,” he continued. 

“We will be running a further recycling campaign in the next few months to remind people of what can be disposed of in their blue lidded recycling bin.”