Residents in Cambridgeshire are being asked to think twice about which bin they put their recycling in after plastic bags, clothes and even a toasted sandwich maker have been found in the wheelie bins that take food and garden waste.
To get the message across, a new campaign is being launched to help people understand which wheelie bin items should go in and the consequences of using the wrong recycling bin.
By putting the incorrect items in a wheelie bin or not taking them to a Household Recycling Centre, some organic material which could have been turned into useful compost is being sent to landfill .
In an attempt to tackle the issue, two new videos available at http://www.recap.co.uk/ , mix live footage and animated characters to show what happens once the material is picked up from residents' homes and brought to the Amey Waste Management Park in Waterbeach.
One films show how, in just eight weeks, the food and garden waste is turned in to high quality compost that is thoroughly tested in order to produce a safe, nutrient-rich product for local farms and gardens.
The other film shows the state of the art machinery that is used to sort the dry recycling from blue bins in Cambridgeshire and why it is important to do our best to get recycling right.
Local authorities across Cambridgeshire will also be implementing a stricter regime of not emptying recycling bins if they have the wrong items inside them while offering to help those people who are experiencing problems.
Cllr Roger Hickford, Chairman of RECAP, said: "We work very hard with Amey and the District Councils to compost as much of your food and garden waste as possible. When the process works, we create over 23,000 thousand tonnes a year of compost which is then used on farmer's fields for crops or by Cambridgeshire residents on their gardens. That is enough to spread compost over four football pitches every day of the year. However, in recent months we have seen a variety of items turning up in the "˜green waste' such as electric goods, clothes but mostly corn-starch and plastics bags which cannot be composted in our process and must be rejected.
"I would urge everyone to watch our new videos and think really careful about the items they put in their various bins. The cost of putting the wrong things into wheelie bins is over Â£220,000 a year. So while the technology we use helps to sort the recycling you put out, we are greatly assisted by the separation which people can do at home. This means we can recycle more, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and have more money to spend on other services which councils provide."
Tom Coleman Operations Director at Amey said: "It only takes eight weeks for us to turn food and garden waste into compost, but any type of plastic, even the corn starch bags, will not break down. The best way to help us is for you to wrap your food waste using newspaper as this does break down into compost quickly.
"Unfortunately we do get quite a lot of plastic and metal items mixed in with the food and garden waste. These can damage the machinery we use to sort the waste and also unfortunately it means that we need to reject it and send it to landfill. We hate to see potentially good compost being sent to landfill because it has been contaminated."
The Composting Facility at the Waterbeach takes food and garden waste from homes and transforms it to high quality compost used by farmers and local residents. This industrial process has a lot of advantages, is much faster than composting at home and produces material which meets the national standards.
The compost is available free of charge to local residents. To find out more visit http://www.recap.co.uk/