According to the May edition of the UK's Which? magazine, some 229,389 tonnes of recycling and composting material put out by households in England last year ended up in landfill.
The experts spoken to by Which? say recycling only gets rejected if it is ‘contaminated’ – for example when the wrong type of material gets put in or the items are in poor condition (soggy newspapers).
Rejection levels vary around the country. The 5 authorities with the highest rejection levels, according to Which?, had rejection rates between 22% (Hertsmere Borough Council) and 11%.
We have our own views on whether local authorities truly embrace recycling or are just going through the motions but, as make and menders, we should give them the least possible excuse for rejecting what we put out.
Which? published some excellent tips from Philip Ward at Wrap for improving your recycling skills. Wherever you happen to live, this is sensible advice to follow if you are consigning items to a recycling facility or kerbside collection.
Top tips from Which?
1. Only put something in a recycling box if you know your council will accept it. One wrong thing could result in the whole box being rejected. Ask your council or use the postcode checker at recyclenow.com.
2. Wash and squash – use old washing up water.
3. Remove lids and labels if your council asks you to do this.
4. Find alternatives for items your council can’t deal with.
We’d add one more tip: On the morning of your recycling, double check if a passing pedestrian has tossed something into your box that would lead to it being rejected (crisp packets and half eaten sandwiches seem to be particularly popular).
TheWhich? guide to recycling has tips on what to do with those difficult-to-recycle items, how to make the most of your council's services and a detailed breakdown of the materials councils typically accept for recycling.
>> Make it and Mend it tips for sorting recycling