BBC Breakfast: Talking about contamination
In case you missed it, we were asked to appear on BBC Breakfast this morning to discuss why contamination in recycling happens, and what we can all do to stop it. This follows news from the BBC that the amount of contamination has increased by an estimated 84%.
The important thing to bear in mind is that while contamination rates rose between 2011/12 and 2014/15, the actual amount of contamination is really very small. Of all the material sent for recycling last year, just 3% was rejected. That’s 338,077 tonnes out of over 11 million tonnes.
So don’t worry that recycling isn’t working. It is working and all your hard work is making a big difference.
But naturally there’s always more we can all do to improve recycling and as Linda Crichton, head of Recycle Now, told Sally Nugent there are some very common causes of contamination we can all look out for.
Often, for example, it’s simply that we’re unsure whether something can be recycled or not and when confronted with an unusual suspect we tend to pop these in with the recycling – just in case. So ahead of Recycle Week (12 – 18 September) and the launch of our new campaign to put these items in their proper place, we’ve put together our own top tips to help you combat contamination.
- Look out for recycling labels on packaging to help identify if it's recyclable or not.
- Leave metal caps and lids on glass jars and bottles.
- Empty and rinse containers.
- Don't forget to recycle items from all rooms in the house e.g. Shampoo bottle from the bathroom.
- If in doubt, check before you chuck using the RecycleNow.com recycling locator.
And our other recycling champion Alice will be live on Twitter this afternoon for a special Q&A session to help. So if there’s anything you’ve always wanted to know about bottles, boxes or bubble wrap – but didn’t know who to ask – then log on to @recycle_now from 1pm – 2pm.
And what are we doing about this problem?
Well, we’re working together with councils, collectors, recyclers, brands and retailers to make recycling simpler by moving towards a more harmonious system of recycling in England, where everyone can recycle the same materials wherever they are.
Photo: Linda Crichton, head of Recycle Now with Sally Nugent and Christian Fraser.