7 November 2016 by Will Date

Suffolk campaign aims to cut recycling contamination

The Suffolk Waste Partnership has begun a county-wide communications campaign aimed at reducing the amount of contamination in recycling presented by householders at the kerbside.

'Bernie the Binman' is the face of Suffolk's Getting Recycling Right campaign

‘Bernie the Binman’ is the face of Suffolk’s Getting Recycling Right campaign

Food waste, glass, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), batteries and nappies are among the items that the Partnership has claimed are frequently presented amongst dry recyclables by residents.

The ‘Getting Recycling Right’ campaign is also highlighting recent changes to kerbside collection services across the county, with textiles no longer accepted alongside other recyclable materials.

Suffolk Waste Partnership is a joint body made up of the seven waste collection authorities within the county – Babergh, Forest Heath, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils.

All seven of the councils operate a similar service for dry recyclables, focussing on the fortnightly commingled collection of paper and cardboard, plastic bottles and pots, tubs and trays, cans and foil, aerosols and cartons from the kerbside in wheeled bins.


Material is transported to Viridor’s Great Blakenham materials recycling facility (MRF) where it is sorted and separated. The contractor signed a renewed four-and-a-half year contract with the councils in 2014 to handle an estimated 50,000 tonnes-per-year of material from across the county (see letsrecycle.com story).

Suffolk’s communications campaign, which commenced last week – is fronted by the ‘Bernie the Binman’ – and has seen leaflets sent out to every household in the county alongside online resources including a video with messaging on target materials accepted at the kerbside, and frequent contaminants that are presented by householders.

The campaign will also feature messaging on bottle tops in line with WRAP’s National Recycling Guidelines, officially launched last month, which suggests that tops should be left on plastic bottles, instead of being left loose amongst other recyclables (see letsrecycle.com story). According to Suffolk, materials that are smaller than 4cm, including loose bottle tops or shredded paper, will not be recycled.


Leaflets have been delivered to households across Suffolk to highlight recyclable materials collected at the kerbside

Leaflets have been delivered to households across Suffolk to highlight recyclable materials collected at the kerbside

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, councillor Clive Arthey, chairman of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, said: “While it is great that we are recycling more than half of our household waste here in Suffolk, this campaign will hopefully help us improve the quality of Suffolk’s recyclable material and save taxpayers money.

“For example, 1,500 nappies are picked by hand from people’s recycling every day. This is a horrible job and spoils the other recyclables, costing both time and money to sort out. If you follow the advice in the leaflet and on our website and only put the correct items in your recycling bin, we can improve the quality of recyclables going to the MRF and will be able to recycle even more.

“Textiles and items of clothing are no longer being accepted in the recycling bins and we would ask people to take unwanted textiles to a charity shop, a recycling bank or their nearest Recycling Centre.”

Related Links

Suffolk Waste Partnership


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