A local authority has had to fork out £25,000 in the last two months alone due to residents putting the wrong items in their recycling bins.
Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) is asking households to take care sorting their waste so green bin collection loads do not get rejected by processing centres.
Dirty nappies, black sacks, plastic bags and food waste are among the most common items mistakenly put in.
Cllr Patrik Garten, cabinet member for environmental services at MBC said: “It is everyone's responsibility to avoid contamination of our recycling.
“Dirty nappies, black sacks and plastic bags are the most common items incorrectly placed in recycling bins.
“These must all be put into your main household black bin and cannot be recycled.
“We also find food waste incorrectly placed in the recycling bin, this needs to go into the separate food bin for weekly collection.
“If our refuse collectors can see that the wrong materials have been put into the green recycling bins they will not empty them and will also place a sticker on the bin to say it is contaminated.
“They do not have enough time to let each resident know what contaminated their individual bin, as each crew visit between 800 to 1,000 homes each day.
“However, to help people understand what can and cannot be recycled we will be hanging bin hangers on green recycling bins in Maidstone over the next four weeks.”
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Cllr Garten added: “We are really grateful that the majority of our residents do recycle correctly as we have one of the best recycling rates in Kent at 50%, which is higher than the national average of 44%.
“So, I would like to say a massive thank you to those residents who are helping us to maintain this.
“Maidstone Council needs to crack down on households which not only upset our fabulous recycling rates but whose actions impose unnecessary costs, which ultimately all taxpayers will have to bear.
“The extra costs are incurred when contaminated loads are refused by the recycling centre.
“We’ve gone to a lot of effort letting residents know what can and cannot be recycled and will continue to do so.
“If we all play our part and take a little extra time to make sure only the correct items are in the recycling bin, that will reduce contamination, reduce the costs incurred and improve the environment, for the benefit of everyone.”
The MBC waste team will be on hand at the new Eco Hub – a pop-up information centre in The Mall to help and support people to live more sustainably, save money and reduce their carbon footprint.
It is located on the upper level, next to Vision Express.
Visit MBC’s website for more information on opening times and events.