MALDON district taxpayers had to shell out more than £10,000 to deal with waste wrongly placed in recycling bins last year, figures suggest.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for labelling on packaging to be made clearer, to avoid recyclable waste getting mixed-up with non-recyclable items.

It is an issue estimated to have cost English councils around £60 million last year.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) data shows 128 tonnes of waste collected by Maldon District Council were rejected at the point of sorting in the year to March.

This is more than the 93 tonnes rejected the previous year and the largest volume since records began in 2014-15.

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 Maldon an estimated £11,904 in 2020-21 alone.

Overall, the authority collected 27,045 tonnes of waste, up from 23,316 the year before.

David Renard, environment spokesman for the LGA, which represents councils, pointed the finger at manufacturers who produce non-recyclable plastic packaging which is then put in the recycling bin by people “in good faith”.

He said: “The burden then falls on councils to not only collect it and dispose of it, but to pay the extra cost of disposing of it.

“At a time when councils are working towards achieving net zero, they are doing so with one hand tied behind their back, courtesy of manufacturers who are littering our communities with plastic they know cannot be disposed of sustainably.”

Defra said a consultation had taken place on a proposal to force producers to label their packaging clearly, so people would know if items are recyclable or not.

A spokeswoman said: “We want to make recycling easier and ensure there is a comprehensive, consistent service across England.

“Our landmark Environment Act will transform the way we deal with rubbish."

The act states food and garden waste should always be collected separately from dry recycling and residual waste.

“It means recyclable materials will have to be collected separately, while separate food waste collection will also help reduce contamination,” she added.