City Council’s Policy on Contamination of Household Recycling

City Council’s Policy on Contamination of Household Recycling container

City Council’s Policy on Contamination of Household Recycling content

What is Contamination?

Contamination happens when non-recyclable items are mixed in with the recycling we collect. This can range from individual items being placed in the wrong type of recycling bin to large-scale contamination where whole bags of waste are placed into recycling bins.

Although the majority of households are correctly separating their recycling, recent studies carried out by our waste management team have shown that materials that are not accepted by our processors are still regularly being presented for collection in recycling bins. This can result in carefully separated materials being rejected for recycling and instead sent for disposal as general waste.

We recognise that there are two distinct categories of contamination:

  • Non-Deliberate contamination occurs when incorrect materials are deposited in recycling bins due to a lack of understanding or awareness about what is accepted.
  • Deliberate contamination occurs when recycling bins are used indiscriminately for general waste.

Advisory Notices

Dundee City Council’s new waste strategy is designed to support householders in making the correct waste disposal choices. We understand that part of bringing about positive change is by sharing information with residents who are not deliberately contaminating, to educate them on what can be recycled into which bins, whilst also making it clear that deliberate contamination is not acceptable.

From the 21st June, we will be taking steps to highlight recycling contamination to householders, and to clarify what can and can’t be recycled in each bin. Advisory notices will be placed on recycling containers to notify residents of an error when unsuitable materials are included.

Contamination will be classified as indicated below, with the following actions being taken:

Severe contamination – bins contain many items that are not accepted (over 50% of bin volume)

  • bins will not be emptied, and the notice will explain the reason why;
  • residents will be advised to remove the contamination and present their bin for collection on the next scheduled uplift date.

Moderate levels – several items that are not accepted (10-50% of bin volume)

  • bins will not be emptied, and the notice will explain the reason why;
  • residents will be advised to remove the contamination and present their bin for collection on the next scheduled uplift date.

Low levels – very few items that are not accepted (less than 10% of bin volume)

  • bins may still be collected, and the tag will provide further advice for the householder.

Repeated incidences of contamination will result in the container being tagged again with an advisory notice, and this action will be followed up with a written communication delivered to the property.

Download the guide: What can and can't be recycled in Dundee