Shotgun cartridges, dead snakes and bank notes – the unusual items found in Hartlepool’s household rubbish

Mick Proud, production manager at J & B Recycling
Mick Proud, production manager at J & B Recycling

A RECYCLING firm has found everything from £400 in bank notes to a 42-inch television in the rubbish people have thrown out.

J & B Recycling’s Hartlepool waste management facility handles around 120,000 tonnes of waste per year.

But as well as everyday household rubbish, sorters and pickers at the company’s £6m materials recycling facility often find both unwanted and unexpected items. That includes four dead snakes, live ammunition, a loaded gun and rolls of bank notes.

Mick Proud, production manager at J & B Recycling, said: “Cash is the thing we find the most, usually just coins and the occasional note, but once we found £400 which was handed to the police. We have also found expensive jewellery and when such items are found they are reported immediately, but unfortunately it’s often difficult for the police to find the owners.

“There was a 42-inch television that somebody had thrown out just because the batteries in the remote had run out. We managed to find the owner and he really wasn’t bothered about throwing it out.

“But unfortunately it is often just seriously unpleasant things that we find, like soiled nappies, bags of dog waste, syringes and dead animals. These are things that should never be going into recycling bins or to the recycling centres.

“People need to realise that once the materials have gone through several sorting machines there is a real person who sorts through all the collected recyclables and it is extremely unpleasant and upsetting to find such items.”

Most shockingly, a loaded gun was found when workers were sorting through the waste – luckily the safety catch was on.

J & B Recycling has strict procedures for dealing with unexpected or dangerous waste and in this instance, the police were notified who then sent an armed response to collect the gun for investigation.

J & B Recycling has compiled a list of the items it often finds in recyclable kerbside collections that have no place there:

• Soiled nappies.

• Plastic bags filled with dog waste.

• Food waste.

• Dead animals.

• Green waste, such as plant and grass cuttings (many local authorities have separate collections for green waste).

• Plastic garden hoses.

• Duvets and carpets.

And the most unusual items found:

• Four dead snakes in the last year.

• Live ammunition, particularly shotgun cartridges.

• Cash, including rolls of bank notes.