Machetes, swords and dead pets turn up at household recycling plant

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Machetes, ceremonial swords and dead pets are among some of the more unusual items that are turning up at Wakefield’s household waste recycling plant.

Knives, walking sticks, false teeth, video tapes, electrical items with cables and old gardening tools are also being put into some household recycling bins in the district.

Wakefield Council is now calling on people to check which items can be placed in their recycling bin – so they are aware of what needs to go into the bin, taken to a recycling centre, or disposed of elsewhere.

Coun Richard Forster, Wakefield Council’s deputy Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities, said: “I urge everyone in the district to think carefully before placing items in their recycling bin and if in doubt to check out the council website.

“If the wrong items go to the recycling plant it is not only very unpleasant, there can be a real danger to staff if they come into contact with sharp items. Used medical needles, which should be placed in a medi-box at home, are also turning up at the plant, putting staff at risk.

“There is also a financial cost, as items that shouldn’t be there can get caught up in the machinery. This means the whole recycling plant has to close down. This can result in an additional cost to the Council and ultimately to council tax payers – so it’s in everyone’s interest to take a few minutes to understand what is and isn’t suitable for the recycling bin.”

Since the council introduced a new household recycling collection system last year, there has been a 10% increase in recycling across the district.

However, more can be done and the council is highlighting the issue with a new social media campaign - #LetsSortItOut which is spreading the message about what can be put in the recycling bin. It runs alongside national Recycling Week which starts on September 12.

The aim of the campaign is also to cut contamination, and reduce sending waste to landfill which is expensive and not good for the environment, as well as keeping staff safe.

Wakefield Council is in a partnership with, Shanks Waste Management, which has created one of the most high-tech recycling facilities in Europe at South Kirkby.

The new facility is capable of recycling and reusing around 95% of all household waste, but needs people to help by sorting waste at home and putting items in the right bin.

Coun Forster said: “It’s fantastic that we have increased the recycling rate by 10%, but more can be done. We urge all residents to visit our website to spend five minutes refreshing their memory on what can and can’t go into the brown recycling bin, so that we can push that recycling rate even higher, and reduce landfill.”

For full details about recycling please visit: www.wakefield.gov.uk/residents/bins-and-environment/bins

Recycling – brown bin:

Use this for glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles with lids off, lids, cans, paper and cardboard. All these items can be recycled for re-use.

The council is advising people to wash, squash and take the lids off plastic bottles to aid recycling and create more space in your bin.

Household waste – green bin:

Use this for your general waste including food waste, juice cartoons, wrapping paper or card with foil, vacuums cleaner bags, nappies, pet waste and cat litter. And any plastic which is not a bottle or lid – such as carrier bags, food packaging, yoghurt pots, margarine cartoons, vegetable punnets.

Garden waste – separate brown bin:

Use this for all garden waste such as grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, twigs and weeds. This can all be recycled into compost.

Other items:

Please take garden tools and DIY tools, paddling pools, walking sticks, knives, electrical items and bicycle chains to a household recycling centre. Contact the Police for advice on disposing of ceremonial swords or any other weapon-like items.