HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds of Southampton taxpayer's money was spent dealing with waste wrongly placed in recycling bins last year, figures suggest.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows 4,859 tonnes of waste collected by Southampton City Council were rejected at the point of sorting in the year to March.

This is more than the 4,657 tonnes rejected the previous year.

Recycling charity Wrap, which works with governments and companies on sustainability, estimates that waste disposed of as recycling, which is then found not to be recyclable, costs councils around £93 per tonne to dispose of.

It would mean rejected waste cost taxpayers in Southampton an estimated £451,887 in 2020-21 alone.

Overall, the authority collected 100,346 tonnes of waste, up from 99,452 the year before.

Southampton City Council has said they are "looking to address the issue in Southampton", adding that contamination in recycling bins is a national issue.

They told the Daily Echo that they are undertaking a city wide educational campaign to highlight what can be recycled and the most common incorrectly recycled items, as well as utilising outdoor advertising channels across the city as well as online resources and social media.

"We can only recycle paper, card and cardboard (with packing tape and metal staples removed), cans, tins, aerosols and plastic bottles," a spokesperson said.

"However there are plans in the pipeline to enable more plastics to be recycled.

"Everything else should go in general waste bins or be taken to the Household Waste & Recycling Centre.

"If residents are ever unsure about what can go into a recycling bin then they can check out our handy recycling A-Z on our website.

"We ask for recycling to be put loose in bins and for any food residue to be rinsed out."

Councillor Rob Harwood, said: “The environment and sustainability are at the forefront of everything we do, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the residents in the city who are recycling as much as they can.

"However, contamination in recycling bins in Southampton is an issue that we’re actively looking to address as it can be detrimental to the efforts of the vast majority who are trying to recycle the correct items.

"As well as the environmental impact, there is also a financial cost attached to sorting and disposing of rejected waste, which is ultimately paid for by the council tax payer.

"This is one of the reasons why we are bringing forward a comprehensive waste improvement plan.”