‘What’s in the box?’ recycling campaign reminds residents to keep the wrong items out of paper and card recycling

Councillor David Lancaster and the Recycle for Greater Manchester recycling superhero

Recycle for Greater Manchester has teamed up with Salford City council to launch a new recycling campaign with a spotlight on wrong items frequently found in Salford residents’ blue paper and card bins. To kick start the campaign, Recycle for Greater Manchester recently talked to Salford Councillors about the scale of the problem – and the importance of making sure that good recycling doesn’t go to waste.

Wrong items (contaminants) are frequently found in Salford’s blue paper and card bins – with dirty nappies, wet wipes, leftover food, electrical items, polystyrene packaging, plastic bags and tablet blister packs among some of the main offenders.

This high level of unwanted items has led to the rejection of tonnes of paper and card collected for recycling. Since the beginning of the year, several bin lorries have been turned away – wasting time, money and importantly, good recycling efforts across Salford.

The new campaign encourages residents to think carefully about what should go into blue paper and card bins. A simple ‘What’s in the Box?’ message reminds people to empty their cardboard boxes before they recycle them. Informative and impactful leaflets will be delivered to 86,000 homes, along with stickers on residents’ bins and supporting advertising and social media activity. The Recycle for Greater Manchester campaigns team will also be attending a number of local community and business events over the next few months to continue to spread the message about what can be recycled.

Councillor David Lancaster, Lead Member for Environment and Community Safety at Salford City council said: “We are calling on residents in Salford to double their recycling efforts and think again about what they put in the blue paper and card bin. Just taking the time to empty any cardboard boxes and remove any packaging, electrical items, or any leftover food will make a big difference.

“Cardboard boxes, card packaging, paper and shredded paper, magazines and catalogues, newspapers, books, envelopes and mail, junk mail, greetings cards and wrapping paper are the only things that should be placed in the blue paper and card bin.

“We all have a part to play in making sure that our recycling efforts aren’t wasted and we’re confident that our residents will get behind the new campaign and help us collect more paper and card that can be recycled.”

Councillor Alex Ganotis, Greater Manchester’s Green City Region lead said: “Contamination in Greater Manchester’s paper and card recycling bins has always been a problem, but recently we’re facing increasing challenges. In January, tough new quality standards in the paper and card recycling market were introduced, and this means that we have to collect as much clean paper and card as possible. Unfortunately, we are finding too many wrong items and lorry loads of recycling are getting rejected time and time again.

“People often think that it doesn’t matter if wrong items get mixed up with their recycling and that they will all get removed later. This isn’t the case – it’s almost impossible to remove most of the contaminants because there isn’t a mechanical process available to remove things like dirty nappies and electrical items. They have to be handpicked from a conveyor which means not all of these items can be removed.

“We get a surprising number of nappies and baby wipes in the paper and card recycling and these are serious contaminants that should go in the general waste bin and never in the recycling bin.”

For more information on the campaign, or to book on to a free open day to see your recycling in action, visit the Salford community page.

Download a copy of the ‘What’s in the Box?leaflet.

Recycle for Greater Manchester