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Balham residents urged to take more care with recycling

November 14, 2012

People who put the wrong things in their orange recycling bags or orange-lidded recycling banks could soon cost council tax payers in the Balham area almost £400,000 a year.

From October, the council have had to pay twice for any 'contaminated' recycling - firstly to sort it out and then to dispose of it along with other general rubbish.

On rare occasions, when the level of contamination is too high, an entire lorry load of mixed recycling has to be disposed of.

The only things that should be recycled in orange bags 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)

Food residue should be rinsed off before recycling and lids should be removed from bottles. Get full details of what can and can't be recycled at

Currently, around 17% of the contents of the orange sacks are contaminants, and almost a quarter of the contents of orange banks are non-recyclable items.

Every 1% reduction in contamination will save council tax payers more than £17,000 a year.

“I’m sure Balham residents will get behind this and do their best to recycle sensibly,” says Bruno De Sousa, manager at the Balham branch of lettings agent Bushells. “It’s astonishing to think of the amounts of money that can be saved if we stop to think for a moment before throwing our rubbish away.”

If you live on an estate with communal orange banks, and you would like a lock fitted to stop people putting large bags of non-recyclable rubbish in, contact the recycling team by emailing or calling (020) 8871 8558.

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