A new campaign has been launched by West Norfolk Borough Council in a bid to encourage residents to recycle correctly.
Spot checks across West Norfolk have revealed one in every seven lorries is rejected due to items being incorrectly recycled including an axe, saw and a skateboard.
Brian Long, council leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “At a time when budgets are being squeezed it is important that resources are focused where they are most needed.
“By encouraging people to sort their waste properly, we could redirect that £250,000 to services that people value, such as grass cutting and street cleaning.”
Currently 14 per cent of the materials sent for recycling from kerbside collections in West Norfolk are rejected because they have been incorrectly recycled by residents and are not suitable.
Other strange items that have been found in recycling bins across the area include a television, vacuum cleaner, saucepans, taps, toys, rugs, a football boot, clothes, grass cuttings, bags and a brake pad.
Mr Long said: “We have done a lot to make recycling much easier. Materials such as glass bottles and jars, plastic food pots, tubs and trays, and drinks cartons can now be recycled along with card, paper, plastic bottles, and steel and aluminium cans. People have responded well and the amount of recycling has increased.
“However, the amount of waste put in the recycling bins that can’t be recycled has also increased. We know that many people want to do the right thing or think they are doing the right thing, but our waste audits show that many people are still putting the wrong things in the bin.”
He added: “We really need people to understand the cost implications of not sorting their waste properly. I hope this campaign will really catch people’s attention.”
As part of the campaign, the bin crews are doing a quick check of recycling bins, and where it is obvious that the wrong items are being placed in the bins, a red tag is attached explaining the problem and a leaflet is posted through the door.
Council teams are also doing more thorough spot checks, delving into the bins to identify issues.
Staff are keen to talk to residents to help them recycle right and can offer advice and assistance.
Spot checks have already taken place across Reffley, Hunstanton, Downham Market, Crimplesham, Feltwell, Upwell, Middleton and Outwell and a marked improvement has been seen.
Where issues persist, recycling bins will be removed and clear sacks introduced as it is harder to hide things in a clear sack.
The campaign takes an informal look at some of the issues with recycling and acknowledges that many people are trying to recycle as much as they can.
Two friends are presented in cartoon-strip, demonstrating their understanding of what, how and where to recycle. The first phase of the campaign highlights issues with nappies and textiles.
Find more information to support the campaign on the council’s webpages - west-norfolk.gov.uk/recycle.