Householders who misuse recycle bins could see their waste go uncollected

Plastic bags in amongst the garden waste collected at Waterbeach.

Plastic bags in amongst the garden waste collected at Waterbeach. - Credit: Archant

Councils across Cambridgeshire will be taking a tougher stance against householders who persistently misuse their recycling bins.

A new “stricter regime” is being introduced whereby waste crews will refuse to empty recycle bins that have been stuffed with non-recyclable items, with notes to be left on top of the bin explaining why it hasn’t been emptied.

And any householder who continues to flout the rules will be visited by council officials “offering help” with their recycling.

The announcement comes after Recycle for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, a partnership of councils, reported that refuse crews had discovered plastic bags, clothes and even a toasted sandwich maker during the course of their weekly collections.

Putting erroneous items into recycle bins costs the public purse more than £200,000, according to the partnership.

In response, a new campaign has been launched to help people understand which wheelie bin items should go in and the consequences of using the wrong recycling bin.

The partnership says that, by putting the incorrect items in a wheelie bin or not taking them to a recycling centre, some organic material which could have been turned into useful compost was being sent to landfill .

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In an attempt to tackle the issue, two new videos available at, to show what happens once the material is picked up from residents’ homes and brought to the Amey Waste Management Park, in Waterbeach, which handles recycling for all homes across Cambridgeshire.

Cllr Roger Hickford, chairman of RECAP, said: “In recent months we have seen a variety of items turning up in the ‘green waste’ such as electric goods, clothes but mostly corn-starch and plastics bags which cannot be composted in our process and must be rejected.

“I would urge everyone to watch our new videos and think really careful about the items they put in their various bins. The cost of putting the wrong things into wheelie bins is over £220,000 a year.”

The composting facility at the Waterbeach takes food and garden waste from homes and transforms it to high quality compost used by farmers and residents.

The compost is available free of charge. To find out more visit