Recycle But Watch What You Put In The Orange Bags

Council will face fines to be introduced in the autumn for 'contaminated' items

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People who put the wrong things in their orange recycling bags or orange-lidded recycling banks could soon cost council tax payers almost £400,000 a year.

From October, the council will have to pay twice for any 'contaminated' recycling - firstly to sort it out and then to dispose of it along with other general rubbish.

On rare occasions, when the level of contamination is too high, an entire lorry load of mixed recycling has to be disposed of.

What can go in the orange bags:
  • Paper and card/cardboard (excluding shredded paper)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles, pots tubs and trays
  • Cans, tins and empty aerosols
  • Food/drinks cartons (e.g. TetraPaks)
    (Food residue should be rinsed off before recycling and lids should be removed from bottles. Get full details of what can and can't be recycled at

Anything else included is 'contamination' which has to be sorted out and then disposed off at the energy from waste plant at Belvedere in Bexley.

Main contaminants (Recent analysis of samples taken from orange recycling sacks and banks)
  • General rubbish
  • Food waste (often stuck to cans and plastic trays)
  • Other plastics (such as carrier bags, cling film and plastic toys)
  • Textiles (such as old clothes)
  • Shredded paper
  • Electrical items

Currently, around 17 per cent of the contents of the orange sacks Wandsworth sends to Smugglers Way are contaminants, and almost a quarter of the contents of orange banks are non-recyclable items. Every one per cent reduction in contamination will save council tax payers more than £17,000 a year.

Environment and Culture spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: "Wandsworth residents have made a fantastic effort to produce less waste and recycle more over the past few years, but now we need people to think more carefully about what they are putting in their orange bags and recycling banks.

"We want to cut our disposal costs, so that we can pass the savings onto council tax payers."

Food waste cannot be recycled via the council's collection services, but special offers are available for residents to buy home composters and food waste disposal units for kitchen sinks at reduced prices. Go to, which also contains details of discount offers on garden waste shredders.

If you live on an estate with communal orange banks, and you would like a lock fitted to stop people putting large bags of non-recyclable rubbish in, contact the recycling team by emailing or calling (020) 8871 8558.

To help residents know what to recycle in these banks, the stickers on them are being replaced with ones giving up-to-date details of what to include. Metal recycling signs for bin chamber doors and refuse chute loading hoppers which give similar details are also available. Most council-managed premises already have these, but if you think they are needed where you live, contact the recycling team.

August 15, 2012

August 15, 2012