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Contamination Campaign

Published : 18/09/2019

Ashford Borough Council will be carrying out a contamination campaign to tackle the increase of incorrect items entering the recycling.

During May and June this year, Ashford Borough Council experienced four loads of recycling being rejected at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) where the recycling is sent to be separated and sorted. This meant these loads were then sent to the Energy from Waste plant in Allington to be incinerated to create energy instead.

These recycling loads were rejected due to the high level of contamination present from black sacks, food waste, nappies/sanitary waste and other miscellaneous items. In addition, Ashford’s contamination rates from recent reports have increased too, with higher levels of food waste, nappies and black bags present.  

The council are very keen to address these important issues. Consequently, a contamination campaign will be conducted throughout the Autumn, starting Monday 2nd September. Biffa crews and council officers will be working together in joint partnership to educate the residents of the borough. During recycling collection weeks, both Biffa crews and council officers will be out putting stickers on residents recycling bins if they contain major contamination e.g. black sacks, food and nappies already mentioned. The sticker will inform the resident what the incorrect item(s) is and that the bin won’t be emptied until it is removed. The aim of the campaign is to prevent further rejected loads and improve the quality of Ashford’s recycling.

The council have been issuing hints and tips online in the lead up to the campaign and staff have been out talking with residents directly and at community events, to help inform residents what they should be doing with these items before the stickers begin. There will also be tips and short video clips put out on social media to help people improve their recycling.

Cllr Andrew Buchanan, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Land Management, said “We want to assure the residents of Ashford that this isn’t a form of punishment. Rather it’s a way to ensure we are not forced to lose any additional good quality recycling from the majority of residents who are trying hard and doing the right thing. We’re currently at a 56% recycling rate so most people are doing it correctly. We want to support those residents and their brilliant efforts. Improving recycling rates is a big step in helping the borough to become even more environmentally friendly”.

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