Nappies and food waste often left in Sheffield paper bins are 'contaminating' recycling goods

Nappies and food waste are being left in Sheffield residents’ blue bins in an increase in rubbish not being recycled properly, waste bosses say.

By Steven Ross
Friday, 17th December 2021, 2:40 pm
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 2:40 pm
Brown bins are for paper and cardboard only, and blue bins are for glass, cans, tins, and plastic bottles. Other plastics should be taken to recycling sites.

Veolia has been responsible for waste management in Sheffield for 20 years but says it has seen a recent uptick in people making mistakes with their recycling, which can mean that their bins may not be collected.

In Sheffield brown bins are for clean glass, cans, tins, and plastic bottles, the blue bin is for paper and cardboard, and the black bin is for other waste.

But Veolia says the wrong items are often left in each bin which causes problems further down the line with recycling.

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Veolia said that incorrect recycling can contaminate other materials and cause problems for their machinery.

A spokesman said: “Since the first lockdown we have seen an increase in some materials being placed in the wrong containers, particularly food waste and nappies being placed in blue bins.

"This can contaminate good materials that could otherwise have been recycled and may cause problems with the machinery during the sorting process. This is why residents are asked to ensure that they place the right materials in their bins and why recycling bins that contain a large amount of the wrong materials cannot be collected.

“Residents can also follow @Recycle4Shef on Twitter to receive updates on their service, find out what happens to their waste, or find out how to make the most of their recycling and waste services.”

Another mistake made by some in Sheffield is putting plastic containers of all kinds into the brown bin, believing that they will be recycled.

The spokesman said: “At present plastic bottles are the only plastic material collected for recycling at the kerbside. This is due to the requirements of the sorting facility where materials are taken after collection and the availability of sustainable long term outlets for the materials collected. A wider range of plastics can be recycled at Sheffield's Bring Sites and household waste recycling centres.

“Veolia fully supports the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, which will see changes to standardise a wider range of materials that can be collected at the kerbside in the future.”

Soft plastic like carrier bags can be taken to a supermarket to be recycled. Visit for more details.