THOUSANDS are being left with unemptied recycling bins each week, Vale of the White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils have revealed.

The authorities said recycling bins all over the region are regularly being left full of waste because people have put the ‘wrong things in them’.

This has been an ongoing problem in the area, with several residents saying they have not been made aware of the guidelines.

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Jennifer Pine, 79, from Horspath said her recycling bin had recently not been emptied in over five weeks.

When her bin was first snubbed, a note was left saying there was food in the recycling.

Mrs Pine and her husband, 81, looked through the recycling to find any food waste but all that was found was ‘one cream carton with tiny bit left in it’.

In the 12 years the Pines have lived in Horspath they have never had any problem with their bin collection.

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When Mrs Pine spoke to the council about the issue, she was told that all residents were notified on the changes to recycling four years ago.

Mrs Pine’s daughter Abigail, 38, said: “The fact that so many bins are going unemptied is absolutely horrendous, and also that recycling collectors apparently have spare time to look through people’s bins.

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“Maybe they have not got enough work to do because of the recent regulations brought in, but it seems like an invasion of privacy in a certain way.

“We are now only putting tins and plastic bottles in the recycling, taking textiles to the tip, and burning the rest because it just seems to be too much bother to separate and wash everything.”

The thousands of bins left unemptied each week suggests recycling guidance has not always been clear.

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A spokesperson for the Vale of the White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils has explained why recycling will be rejected.

They said: “Putting non-recyclable items in recycling can contaminate a whole truckload, which is then rejected at the recycling facility.

“This turns neighbours’ recycling into rubbish and ultimately wastes energy and raw materials by removing these items from the recycling process.

“The vast majority of bins were rejected because residents had put black or coloured bin bags into recycling bins. Crews cannot see what is in them and so won’t empty the bin.

“The next biggest category of rejections was because food was found in the green bin. Food contaminates recycling making it unrecyclable.

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“Food can be collected in food bins and taken to a separate facility where it is transformed into electricity and fertiliser.

“Textiles, like old T-shirts and odd socks are another reason for crews to leave recycling bins unemptied.”

Other non-recyclable items the council mentioned included polystyrene, plastic toys, garden waste, electrical items, wood and nappies. These items cannot be recycled at recycling centres and so can contaminate whole truckloads of recycled materials.

For more information residents are advised to visit the South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse web pages.