Food waste contaminates recycling


Residents are being reminded to rinse food containers before putting them into their recycling bin.

Photo showing contents of recycling wheelie bin

Wealden residents have done a great job in recycling their household waste – around 50% of our total waste is recycled.

However Wealden District Council have said that levels of food waste contamination in recycling bins has been rising, and recently a 16 tonnes load of recycling had to be rejected.

When this happens, the whole load has to be diverted to the incinerator. It means that perfectly good recycling may be wasted. This undermines everyone’s efforts to separate out their waste for recycling – something none of us want. We also have to spend money which could be used to help fund essential services to pay for extra disposal costs.

Three top tips to improve the quality of collected recycling materials:

  1. Keep food out: Please don’t put food waste into the recycling bins. Even small amounts can spoil large quantities of recyclable materials.
  2. Pour liquids out: Make sure there is no liquid remaining in plastic bottles and cans. Always pour out the excess liquid as it spoils the dry recycling.
  3. Rinse all containers: Most of containers out there are recyclable but they are often contaminated by the remaining food inside. Rinse your container before recycling it!

You can now recycle a much wider range of plastic packaging at home – click for details showing the types of wrappers, bags and film that can go in your bin. You can also recycle small electrical items.

Wealden District Council is responsible for collecting waste from the kerbside. East Sussex County Council is the waste disposal authority.

Recycling is taken to the waste transfer station at the Bellbrook Industrial Estate in Uckfield, where materials are stored and bulked-up. From their the contents of the recycling bin are sent to Viridor’s Material Reclamation Facility in Crayford for sorting and baling. The following YouTube animation shows how:

The contents of the rubbish bin is taken to the incinerator at Newhaven. The heat generated from burning is used to generate electricity which powers about 25,000 homes.

What can go in each bin

To find out what can go in each type of bin see

For help on recycling see these Frequently Asked Questions.



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