What is Contamination? Contamination happens when non-recyclable items are mixed in with the recycling we collect. This can range from individual items being placed in the wrong type of recycling bin to large-scale contamination where whole bags of waste are placed into recycling bins. Although the majority of households are correctly separating their recycling, recent studies carried out by our waste management team have shown that materials that are not accepted by our processors are still regularly being presented for collection in recycling bins. This can result in carefully separated materials being rejected for recycling and instead sent for disposal as general waste. We recognise that there are two distinct categories of contamination: Non-Deliberate contamination occurs when incorrect materials are deposited in recycling bins due to a lack of understanding or awareness about what is accepted. Deliberate contamination occurs when recycling bins are used indiscriminately for general waste. Advisory Notices Dundee City Council’s new waste strategy is designed to support householders in making the correct waste disposal choices. We understand that part of bringing about positive change is by sharing information with residents who are not deliberately contaminating, to educate them on what can be recycled into which bins, whilst also making it clear that deliberate contamination is not acceptable. From the 21st June, we will be taking steps to highlight recycling contamination to householders, and to clarify what can and can’t be recycled in each bin. Advisory notices will be placed on recycling containers to notify residents of an error when unsuitable materials are included. Contamination will be classified as indicated below, with the following actions being taken: Severe contamination – bins contain many items that are not accepted (over 50% of bin volume) bins will not be emptied, and the notice will explain the reason why; residents will be advised to remove the contamination and present their bin for collection on the next scheduled uplift date. Moderate levels – several items that are not accepted (10-50% of bin volume) bins will not be emptied, and the notice will explain the reason why; residents will be advised to remove the contamination and present their bin for collection on the next scheduled uplift date. Low levels – very few items that are not accepted (less than 10% of bin volume) bins may still be collected, and the tag will provide further advice for the householder. Repeated incidences of contamination will result in the container being tagged again with an advisory notice, and this action will be followed up with a written communication delivered to the property. Download the guide: What can and can't be recycled in Dundee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Why should I not place contaminated items within my bin?During collection, dedicated vehicles are used for each waste stream to ensure the highest quality of recyclate collection and that no cross-contamination of waste streams occurs. Collection crews are required to collect only the particular material or material mix as designated on their route. Materials that are classed as contaminants will not be accepted by our recycling reprocessors. This can result in carefully segregated materials being rejected and sent for disposal as general waste. Recycling uses significantly less energy than extracting raw materials to make items from scratch and does not deplete the Earth’s precious limited resources. It is important that we acknowledge the environmental consequence of contamination. By not recycling correctly, you take away the chance for that material to be made in to something new. Which households are affected by this policy?This policy applies to residents in households presenting wheeled bins as part of the kerbside collection service. This relates mainly to single properties, namely detached, semi-detached, 4-in-a-block, terraced, and bungalows. In some instances, this may include flatted properties. Why have the Council introduced this policy?In 2016 Dundee City Council signed the Charter for Household Recycling in Scotland, which included the commitment to improving household waste and recycling services and implementing the Code of Practice for Household Recycling in Scotland. This commitment will help Scotland meet its ambitious target of recycling 70% of all waste by 2025. Dundee City Council’s Waste Strategy Action Plan 2020-2025 was approved in 2019. Integral to the success of the Strategy Action Plan was the implementation of policies to promote positive recycling behaviour within the city. These policy changes set out methods to increase the amount of recyclable material collected whilst reducing the overall amount of general waste presented, promoting sustainable waste management practices across the city and reducing disposal costs. It is important that we all take steps to minimise the amount of waste we create and to dispose of our waste as sustainably as possible. By providing a clear message of support and encouragement to the city’s residents, whilst educating against wasteful practices, we aim to promote a positive attitude towards recycling in our city. What can/cannot go into the grey general waste bin?Grey bin What can/cannot go into the food waste bin?Food bin What can/cannot go into the burgundy bin?Burgundy bin What can/cannot go into the blue bin?Blue bin What can/cannot go into the brown bin?Brown bin How do I get rid of other items I thought were recyclable? Plastic bags and plastic film can be recycled at most local supermarkets. Items such as glass, shoes and textiles can be taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) or local recycling points; follow this link to find your nearest ones and what materials they collect. Any other items should be placed in your grey bin or taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre and disposed of as non-recyclable waste.