One in five bins checked as part of efforts to stop the wrong waste going into recycling bins were found to be contaminated.
These pictures show some of the items found which can’t be recycled during checks carried out after figures showed Wellingborough has the lowest recycling rate in the county.
Wellingborough Norse, which carries out environmental services on behalf of Wellingborough Council, has been going through green bins in recent weeks and found about 20 per cent of those checked were contaminated. If a green bin contains items that can’t be sent for recycling the whole load becomes contaminated and has to go to landfill.
Items found during these checks include general rubbish, leftover food, pet mess, hard plastics and black sacks.
A spokesman for Wellingborough Council said the reaction from residents had been mainly positive so far, but added: “Our recycling rates are very low and part of the problem is contaminated green bins – if people throw non-recyclable items like food and pet waste in their green bins, the whole load has to go to landfill which costs taxpayers money.
“Our recycling rates should be higher as it’s incredibly easy to recycle in Wellingborough.We have been able to tell where the problem is particularly bad and we’re focusing on these areas at first.
“We’d ideally like to cover the whole borough over time. The vast majority of people do recycle correctly but it only takes one bin to contaminate the whole load and that means it all goes to landfill.
“There is a cost to having people go round checking bins, but not as much as it costs for rubbish to be sent to landfill rather than recycled.”
Contaminated bins are not being collected, and advice is being left to explain why.
Mark Reneerkens from Norse said: “Lots of people do recycle, and recycle correctly, but we do know that more needs to done.
“We’re hopeful this project will give us a better picture of just how big an issue this is, as well as help to educate residents about the importance of recycling.”