Newcastle citizens may soon be told to recycle fewer items with their rubbish bins. New statistics report that Newcastle city council lost around £500,000 due to mismanaged waste.
The council must spend extra money when wrong types of waste goes into recycling and landfills respectively.
They must cover the cost of separating wrong types of rubbish from the recycling waste. Hence, a new proposal has been considered for implementation to reduce the number and type of items that a household can recycle. This would mean that more items that go into landfills could potentially be recycled but it would also lessen the burden on the recycling plants. Contamination can cost the council millions of pounds. Contamination occurs when there is mixing of two kinds of waste and even slight leakage of food waste into paper could slow down the recycling process or simply cause waste to be rejected from recycling. This would ultimately leads to more money being spent on waste treatment.
Currently, under the new plan, people who do not sort their rubbish or even put wrong waste in the wrong bins will have their bins tagged and be given warning letters, followed by a fines if problems with their rubbish persist. Such instructions may only serve to confuse Newcastle residents further and it is not always obvious which items can or cannot be recycled.
For example, margarine boxes, yoghurt and fruit punnets are non-recyclable, whereas food and drink cans can be recycled if they have been washed out and crushed. Biscuit tins, rinsed glasses, bottles and batteries can be recycled but they have to have been placed in a clear plastic bag first. Cardboard, papers and plastic bottles without caps can all be recycled.
There is a danger that ambiguity over these recycling regulations may lead to people receiving warning letters for trying to recycle well and inadvertently creating waste management problems. This may also push people to recycle less in order to avoid making any mistakes. In trying to encourage better recycling, this system may turn residents from recycling altogether.