More than 9% of material collected for recycling from households in 2006/07 is rejected at the gates of materials recycling facilities (MRFs) and recycling processors, according to WasteDataFlow figures.
This figure was revealed by questions asked in Parliament about the quality of recycled materials collected from households and the end product produced by MRFs.
MP Jessica Morden asked Environment Minister Joan Ruddock for details of tonnages sent to MRFs for recycling and how much of this was rejected at the gates of MRFs and recycling processors. She also asked what the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was doing to ensure material reaches end processors in a clean state, as well as requesting figures to show how much MRF processed material was sent to landfill or energy from waste plants.
Ruddock said: During 2006/07 1.3 million tonnes of municipal waste collected for recycling in England went to MRFs for further treatment.
She revealed that local authorities had reported MRFs rejected 89,000 tonnes of material collected for recycling from households in 2006/07 and a further 32,000 tonnes had been rejected at the gate of a recycling processor the same year. This is equivalent to 9.3% being rejected in total.
Explaining what Defra was doing to ensure a clean end product Ruddock said: A number of factors determine the quality of recyclable materials, including market price, source, and methods of collection and separation. The Government provide support and advice on recycling to businesses and local authorities via the Defra-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme.