City residents are being urged to ‘check before they chuck’ under a targeted campaign to improve the quality of recycling put in household bins.

City of Wolverhampton Council has seen a significant increase in the number of incorrect items being placed in recycling bins and this contamination is costing taxpayers more than £185,000 a year to deal with.

To try and tackle the issue, from Monday 29 January, recycling bins will not be collected if they contain incorrect items. 

Tags will be placed on recycling bins that contain the wrong items asking residents to remove anything that shouldn’t be there. Bins with the incorrect items will not be emptied and residents will need to take their bin back in, remove the non recyclable items and place them in their general waste bin for disposal. 

Collection crews will then check bins on the next recycling collection and if all the identified items are removed and there are no new incorrect items the collection team will empty the bin.

The new bin tags will contain a QR code for residents to scan, this will link to an information page on the council’s website providing a simple recycling guide. Collection crews can also offer information leaflets to residents if they are not sure of what items can and can’t be recycled.

The new tagging system follows recent educational work carried out by the council’s waste services team. This has included information stickers being attached to every household recycling bin to give people a simple picture guide about what can and can’t be recycled.

The team has been attending community events to help answer questions about recycling and information posts have also been shared on the council’s social media channels. The education and awareness campaign will continue over the coming weeks.

Contamination is caused when the wrong things are placed in recycling bins. This means waste can’t be recycled and has to be disposed of separately. This costs money and loses environmental benefits.

Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for city environment and climate change at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “Bins that contain contaminated items are costing the council taxpayer a significant amount of money to dispose of and we just can’t keep collecting them. 

“Therefore, from 29 January, we have no choice but to stop collecting contaminated bins to reduce the costs associated with additional disposal. Money saved will be available to use on other services provided by the council.

“We would therefore urge all residents to ‘check before they chuck’ and make sure that only the items displayed on the bin sticker and the website are placed in the bin for recycling.

“If people do receive a tag, they can either remove the contaminants and present their bin again on their next scheduled collection, put them in their general household waste bin or they can take their waste to one of the city’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (tips).

“We are very clear that we have a commitment to recycling in Wolverhampton and I would like to thank everyone who puts the right items in the recycling bin. We’d encourage all our residents to get on board and help us to create a greener city.”

Items for recycling should not be bagged, but make sure they are clean and dry and put in your black bin.

Items that can go into black recycling bins are: aerosols, cardboard, drink cans, foil packaging, food tins (empty and rinse out), glass bottles and jars (empty and rinse out), household plastic bottles, newspapers and magazines, paper, plastic drinks bottles, empty plastic packaging (margarine tubs, yoghurt pots, food trays) and empty food and drink containers (soup, milk, etc.) 

Please place items for recycling loose in your black bin, do not use bags.

Do NOT put any of the following in your recycle bin: plastic bags, cling film, polystyrene, nappies, garden waste, textiles, clothing, bedding, electrical items, glittery cards, wrapping paper, laminated paper, shiny metallic paper, ribbon and bow decorations, shredded paper or any other general waste.

If you’re in any doubt about whether an item can be recycled, please DO NOT place it in your black bin.

Residents can also find a simple guide to what can and can’t be recycled by visiting What goes in my bins?