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Bradford campaign slows recycling contamination

By 21/03/2019News

A campaign launched to combat recycling contamination in Bradford has seen an improvement in material quality, the council has reported.

The council’s campaign follows difficulties at the council’s materials recycling facility (MRF) due to levels of contamination in autumn 2018.

A campaign running for the last six months in Bradford has seen both an increase in recycling and drop in contamination

Bradford council has warned that putting the wrong items in commingled grey recycling bins can contaminate substantial amounts of other recyclables. “This makes a significant difference in the cost of processing waste, damages the environment and sees people’s efforts to separate their rubbish – literally go to waste,” the council said.

Target materials specified by the council for collection from the kerbside include paper and card, glass jars and bottles, metal cans and tins, plastic bottles and pots, tubs and trays, aerosol containers and foil.


In a bid to tackle problems caused by bin contamination, the local authority said its staff have been knocking on doors to hand out leaflets, stickers and to offer face-to-face advice on what to put in recycling bins.

Teams have visited more than 9,000 properties in parts of the city, with plans for further visits in the coming weeks.

The council said reports show the campaign has already resulted in an 8% reduction in recycling bin contamination and a 9% increase in recycling rate. The campaign has been running for over 6 months with each area targeted for around 6 to 8 weeks.


The campaign on recycling follows reports “significant levels” of recycling at the council’s materials recycling facility (MRF) at Bowling Back Lane last year.

A contaminated grey recycling bin intercepted by Bradford council

According to a report for a council committee in October 2018, 29,536 tonnes of recycling was reported from the kerbside in 2017/18, “of which 38% is contaminated”.

And the report reveals that “significant levels of contamination have impacted negatively on the speed of the MRF, resulting in it being unable to process all of the district’s recyclates”.

“This has required a combination of an additional shift at the MRF plus use of a third party outlet. These costs were not foreseen and hence not budgeted for, however it was assumed that reduction in residual disposal costs would accommodate these costs.”

A spokesperson for Bradford council confirmed that some of the material is still being sent to the local third party outlet.


Commenting on the campaign, Bradford council executive member for healthy people and places, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, said: “We really appreciate our residents’ efforts to recycle as much as they can.

“It makes sense financially for the Council Tax payer, and for the environment, if we can re-use or recycle what would otherwise have to be disposed of by heat treatment or landfill.

“Making sure that people are aware of what should and shouldn’t be placed in the recycling bin is one of our priorities because we trust our residents to do the right thing when they have the confidence and knowledge to guide their efforts.”


Currently, the council provides alternate-weekly collections of commingled recycling in a grey bin, and residual waste presented in a green bin. The authority also offers a charged garden waste service. Collections are carried out by an in-house team.

City of Bradford metropolitan district council is a local authority located in West Yorkshire, with a population of around 530,000.

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Source: Waste Managment