VAST amounts of household waste could not be recycled by teams at Barnsley Council depots due to residents putting rubbish in the wrong bin, a study has revealed.
The probe from the Local Government Association (LGA) estimated 295 tonnes of waste had to be rejected in the year to April 2022 - the highest amount of waste turned away ever recorded.
Rejected waste material can be turned away from recycling due to contamination by water, dirt or chemical treatments such as preservatives or paint.
An LGA spokesperson said: “The burden then falls on councils to not only collect it and dispose of it, but to pay the extra cost of disposing of it.
“Manufacturers of plastic packaging products are still continuing to create and sell packaging that cannot be recycled and will be put in the recycling bin by people in good faith.
“Councils are trying to achieve net zero with one hand tied behind their back as manufacturers continue to produce plastic that cannot be disposed of sustainably.
“It is estimated that 295 tonnes of household waste were rejected from being recycled after being placed in the wrong bin in Barnsley in the year to April 2022.
“It is down from 452 tonnes the year before but up from 70 tonnes in 2014/15 when local records of rejects began.”
Figures show 47,785 tonnes of household waste was recycled in Barnsley during the same time - 44.9 per cent of all rubbish.
Dominic Beck, chair of the South Yorkshire Joint Waste Board, added: “So many households are already keen recyclers and support us to protect the environment.
“However, the wrong waste in the wrong bin can stop good material from being recycled and this can cost local authorities and taxpayers a lot of money.
“Recycling in the UK saves 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year - helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which lead to climate change.
“By getting our recycling right, such as putting the right waste in the right bin, we can make an even bigger difference.”
Charity Recycle Now - which has been working alongside Barnsley Council to increase residents’ knowledge of recycling - warned one misplaced item could impact a lorry load of waste.
Campaign manager Craig Stephens said: “By recycling even better we can have a big impact on our environment.
“Here it’s no different - more and more people are recycling, so the next step is to make sure we get our recycling right.
“One wrong item in a recycling bin from each of us can make whole lorry loads unrecyclable.”