- An estimated 338,000 metric tons of material was rejected from recycling streams in England during 2014-2015. This is an 84% increase from the 184,000 metric tons of material in 2011-2012, as reported by the BBC.
- According to the Department for Environment, the amount of recycled material rose from 10.7 million to 11 million metric tons during the same period.
- In many areas even small amounts of contamination can mean the whole load is discarded. In 2013-2014, the most recent data available, 97% of rejected material was sent to landfills or waste-to-energy facilities.
While England's landfills are still more expensive due to high taxes, a recent survey found that tipping fees at material recovery facilities are expected to go up due to contamination. Regional councils told the BBC that changes to processing equipment have already improved the situation by ensuring that small amounts of contamination won't disqualify full loads from being recycled.
Recycling education remains a challenge in countries throughout the world as consumers continue to express confusion about how the process works. The U.S. waste industry has tried knocking on doors, putting tags on carts and in some cases issuing fines among other educational efforts to get the message across. While not directly related, a recently reported steep drop in the U.K.'s plastic bag usage is a sign that residents can be more conscious of their waste.