Contamination (or to keep it simple, everything you need to know about non-recyclables in your grey or blue recycling bins!)

Has your bin not been emptied?

Have you been left a hanger on your bin?

This means your recycling crew cannot empty your bin as it contains non-recyclable items and is contaminated.

We understand that mistakes happen, but we can only empty bins that contain clean recyclables, otherwise it will contaminate the entire truck-load of recycling!

Some examples of contamination might be…

  • Mixed rubbish like nappies or food which should be in your burgundy bin (not your recycling!).
  • Recyclable items that have been put in the wrong recycling bin.
  • Dirty recyclables, such as half full cartons of milk. We can only recycle clean items.
  • Items that can be recycled, but not in your recycling bins at home, such as textiles, electrical items and wood.

Currently, only around 30% of all the waste we collect in Blackburn with Darwen is recycled – some of the lowest figures in the country.

We want to change that by making it easier for our residents to recycle and at the same time, save money on rubbish disposal, prevent pollution and create jobs.

We’ve created bin guides so our residents can be sure of what goes where – click here and take a look now!

  • What does contamination mean?

    A contaminated bin is a recycling bin that contains either the wrong recyclables, mixed rubbish or dirty recyclable items (e.g. half-full milk carton).

    Your recycling crews can only empty recycling bins that contain clean recyclables.

    That’s because the non-recyclables/dirty items get mixed in the bin truck with the clean recyclables. This spoils the entire load and makes it un-recyclable.

    Removing these non-recyclables (or contaminants) is expensive, which means less of your Council Tax can be spent on essential services such as elderly care, education or road pothole repair.

  • How do you know my recycling bin contains the wrong items?

    Our crews carry out a quick inspection of each bin before they empty it, to check it contains clean recyclables only.

    If a recycling bin contains the wrong items (contamination), your recycling crew cannot empty that bin.

    The crews will leave a hanger on your bin and some recycling sacks to tide you over until your next collection.

    They will also record on their in-cab unit what the contamination is.

    You can check the reason using our missed bin collection forms.

  • What should I do if my bin is contaminated?

    The simplest and easiest way to resolve this issue is to search for the contaminated item and remove it.

    Your bin will be collected as normal on the next collection day.

    Squash all the good recyclables that remain to make more bin space until the next collection (and use the recycling bags the crew will have left on your bin).

    If you can’t wait for your next collection, we offer a ‘fresh start’ service for £7.50.

    We will divert a crew from their normal route to specially empty your bin so you can use it again for recycling.

    Book your fresh start now.

  • I’m not sure what items in my recycling bin I need to remove.

    We’re here to help!

    We want to make recycling as simple as possible for you and your family, so we’ve made it easy to check what items go in what bins.

    1. Check the guide on the bin hanger
    2. Use the missed bins form on the Council’s website
    3. Have a look at our handy A-Z guides

    Once you’ve done that, make sure everyone in your family knows ‘what goes where’!

    If you’ve tried all of these things and still don’t know what items you need to remove from your recycling bin, please take a picture of your recycling contents and email it to us at:

    We’ll get a member of our Cleansing team to check it over for you!