Workers are to begin checking through rubbish bags taken to Cornwall’s waste and recycling centres from next week.

Anyone going to the dump with black bin bags may be asked to open them for checking, to see if what is inside could be recycled instead of put in the general waste.

Leaflets are being handed out at the Duchy’s household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) explaining about the changes and what to expect.

Staff at the centres, run by SUEZ in partnership with Cornwall Council, will be advising people how to separate their waste, on sorting tables. 

It’s as Cornwall Council explains how 58 per cent of black bag waste taken to HWRCs could be recycled.

In the council leaflet it says: “In order to increase Cornwall’s recycling rate, we are asking residents that visit household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) across Cornwall to separate as much material that can be recycled from their black bag waste as possible.”

It goes on to add: “If you are bringing general black bag waste to the HWRC, you may be asked to open your black bags and separate any recyclables that are in them.

“Assistance will be available on site, along with disposable gloves, sorting tables and hand sanitiser.

“For any help on what can be recycled, please ask our team."

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The leaflet breaks down the average contents of black bin bags being left at centres currently, with less than half (42 per cent) actually being general rubbish correctly dumped. The remaining 58 per cent could instead be recycled.

Of those items that could be recycled, there is, on average:

- 6.7 per cent wood
- 7.9 per cent paper
- 20.4 per cent textiles
- 3.2 per cent electricals
- 17 per cent plastics
- 7.2 per cent metals
- 6.8 per cent cardboard
- 2.4 per cent glass
- 8 per cent vegetation and soil
- 13 per cent rubble and plasterboard
- 7.5 per cent other recyclable household items

The council is now asking all residents to use the council’s household recycling and rubbish collections wherever possible, with details of what can be recycled using this service found on the council’s website at Recycling bags and boxes can also be ordered online from here.

Anyone who does need to visit one of the council’s HWRCs can check online to see which materials their local site accepts.

However, people who have been to a waste and recycling recently in the last week have already reported delays, as workers explain about the new system, which is said to come officially into force next Monday, September 4.

One person said: “We were stuck in a queue there for ages last week, whilst the chap gave out the leaflets and explained the new system.

“Don't expect to do a quick tip run! Even if you've pre-sorted your recycling.”