Door-knocking campaign gives recycling advice

Published: Tuesday 29th October 13

Around 15,000 local homes will get a visit during November as part of a door-knocking campaign to help people recycle more of the right things.

two people recycling at a recycling bankTeams of recycling advisors will be giving people guidance on what can, and cannot, be recycled.

They will be visiting areas of the borough in which there are a larger number of ‘contaminated’ recycling bags and orange-lidded bins. Contaminated bags and bins are those that have too much waste in them that shouldn’t be there – typically textiles, plastic film from food containers, food waste and electrical items.

Orange-lidded banks, usually used by estates and blocks of flats, tend to be more heavily contaminated than the new-look clear sacks. On rare occasions, when the level of contamination is too high, an entire lorry load of mixed recycling has to be disposed of with the borough’s waste at the energy-from-waste plant at Belvedere, Kent – Wandsworth no longer sends any of its refuse to landfill.

The council’s environment spokesman Jonathan Cook said:

“The message is getting through about contamination – it’s fallen from a peak of around fifth of all recycling in 2011 to 13 per cent this year -  but there are still households who need more help and advice. That’s why we and the Western Riverside Waste Authority are carrying out this door knocking campaign.

“Contamination costs council tax payers money, because the council has to pay twice for any contaminated recycling – firstly to sort it out and then to dispose of it along with other general rubbish.

“We are doing all we can to make recycling as easy as possible. We do not ask residents to sort their rubbish into different bags or boxes as we believe they would prefer to recycle everything together in one bag or bank. But this means it is especially important to understand what can and cannot go in them.”

Teams of advisors from the organisation Enventure will be giving information, answering questions, recording requests for more recycling sacks, and finding out the common reasons why people do not recycle so that the service can be improved in the future.

The only things that should be put in recycling sacks or banks are:  

  • Paper and card/cardboard (excluding shredded paper)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles, pots tubs and trays
  • Cans, tins and empty aerosols
  • Food/drinks cartons (e.g. TetraPaks)

These should all be clean and dry. Food residue should be rinsed off before recycling and all lids should be removed as otherwise they could end up in the sorted glass, causing problems for the companies trying to recycle it.  

Free textile collections from your door are now available from the charity Traid, most plastic films can now be recycled at local supermarkets along with carrier bags, and the public can recycle electrical items at Smugglers Way. Food waste can be composted.

Find out more at

 View comments on this article

Comments on this news item have been closed.

If you wish to complain about a comment, contact us at

Recent comments

Good idea and I hope it works. Could be difficult in flats though as hard to find out who is responsible. Perhaps flat dwellers could be asked to write their flat number on their bags? Members of the public often leave loose recyclables in the area we leave our bags, so clearly there is a demand for more public recycling bins (esp around Wandsworth Common). I don't think it is right that some people abuse the recycling bags repeatedly, and think there should be fines/charges for repeat offenders. Would be great if clothing, electricals and plastic film could be included though as that would prevent a lot of bags having to be incinerated.
Simon Shields

31 October 2013