Waste of time: Penalties needed to avoid contamination of recycling

An investigation is under way after 160 containers of recyclable waste were returned to Ireland in recent months because of contamination.

The shipping containers were inspected and then stopped in Rotterdam en route to paper mills in China between October and December last year.

More than one third of all household waste is supposedly recycled here, with Ireland ranked joint third in Europe for reducing the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

However, according to industry sources, contamination is increasing and now accounts for 40% of recycled material. This makes a mockery of our much-vaunted green credentials.

Unless some form of penalty is introduced for those who contaminate recycling, we may see more containers being returned. It is bad enough that we have to send our so-called green waste all the way to China in order to comply with EU regulations. Far worse if our system of recycling was exposed as a sham.

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