Gateshead to stop collecting some bins due to ‘unprecedented’ contamination rate

Gateshead council has warned that it will be checking bins “from now on” and not collecting those with non-target material, as contamination rates in the area has reached “unprecedented levels” of over 20%.

Gateshead runs an in-house collection system and recorded a 31.7% recycling rate in 2021/22

The council, which runs an in-house collection service, collects recycling commingled in a wheeled bin. Some households also have an ‘inner caddy’ for separate paper-based items.

In a statement, the council warned that “despite frequent reminders” it is finding “more and more contaminants” in recycling bins, including food waste, liquids, dirty and greasy food packaging, black bags and carrier bags, gardening waste, electrical items, and even soiled nappies.

Gateshead also warned that the lids of the need to be bins closed at all time, as any moisture can ruin otherwise perfectly recyclable materials.

The authority has now instructed its crews not to collect bins which are contaminated. These will instead be tagged, advising residents to remove contamination before collection.


Cllr Linda Green, chair of the South Tyne and Wear waste management partnership said: “While most people recycle responsibly, for which we are grateful, some for whatever reason aren’t getting it right, and it is rendering whole bin loads, and even entire lorry loads of recyclable materials unusable. It is also costing us a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere. This is unacceptable and we can’t tolerate it any longer.

“From now on, we will be checking bins prior to emptying, and if we find obvious contaminants, we have instructed our collection crews not to empty them, and instead will apply a tag to your bin advising you to remove the contaminant and dispose of it correctly before it will be emptied.”

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