Government

Recycling sites risk closure if misuse continues, Powys warns

Powys County Council have condemned “antisocial acts” and “selfish behaviour” leading to the contamination of tonnes of recyclable material, warning if misuse of community recycling sites continues they risk closure.An image of recycling centre Wales

Releasing a comment yesterday (17 June) on its website, the Welsh council stated there is ‘no excuse’ for general waste such as food or dog poo to be put into community recycling sites.

The council calls on members of the public to report incidences of contamination. Currently, CCTV is in operation across the sites, with Powys stating that those ‘guilty of deliberately dumping rubbish in the recycling banks can expect to receive a fixed penalty notice’.

"We are horrified at the types of rubbish we are finding in some of our community recycling sites," said Cllr Heulwen Hulme, Cabinet Member for Waste and Recycling. "This type of contamination means that all the material within the banks is rejected by the recycling processors and ends up having to be sent to landfill.

"This selfish behaviour of a few irresponsible people is a huge waste of everyone else's time and effort and results in recyclable material needlessly going to waste. If the community recycling banks continue to be misused in this way, they may have to be removed."

Cllr Michael Williams, the County Councillor for Machynlleth, added: "The contamination at the Machynlleth community recycling site has been particularly bad recently. Not only have we found all sorts of non-recyclable rubbish in with the recycling, but a few residents are insisting on using our card bank to get rid of dog poo!

"During a global pandemic, when resources are stretched and everyone is doing their utmost to stay safe and stop the spread of the coronavirus, anti-social acts of this kind pose a significant health risk to our staff and other site users and is totally unacceptable – there is no excuse for it. Please use your sites responsibly."

Contamination in recycling streams means that many tonnes often have to be disposed of with residual waste, costing councils money and holding back recycling rates. With this in mind, other Welsh councils have taken measures to reduce contamination in their recycling collections.

After reports that 20 per cent of waste placed in green bags for recycling contained incorrect materials in Cardiff, the council began a new campaign in March. Titled ‘See Pink, Stop and Think’, it sees pink stickers placed on recycling and garden waste bags incorrectly presented as part of a five-step process that could lead to a £100 fixed penalty notice (FPN) or court proceedings for persistent offenders.

Similarly, in an effort to bolster recycling rates, Swansea Council launched its ‘Keep it Out’ campaign in February last year – a ban on recyclables in black bin bags and fines for those not recycling correctly.

You can read the full Powys County Council statement on its website.