MISSED recycling targets are being blamed on families contaminating pink bin bags.

Southend Council has missed the 50per cent recycling target this year.

Figures from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures show between April 2018 and March 2019, Southend recycled or composted 38,363 tonnes of waste – 49per cent of all its rubbish.

Larissa Reed, executive director for neighbourhoods and environment at the council, said: “Unfortunately, when non-recyclable materials are put in the pink sack, they are considered ‘contamination’ and as such, cannot be recycled.

“Over the past few years, the council and our waste contractor, Veolia, have been working with residents to increase the amount of waste that is recycled within the borough.

“The aim for us is for us to be at 50per cent recycled rate by 2020, in line with central Government’s targets, and with residents support we hope to meet this figure.

“The council provides a robust recycling scheme, which includes the possibility to recycle card, plastic, food waste and glass, all of which is recycled at a material recovery facility.

“As the local authority, we are committed to reaching our recycling target of 50per cent, however we do need residents to support the recycling services and recycle as much of their waste as they can.”

While Southend failed to meet the target, it still achieved higher rates than in neighbouring Thurrock, which recycled or composted 28,769 tonnes of waste, or just 35per cent. That is worse than last year, when 38per cent of the rubbish was recycled.

Essex County Council achieved 51per cent of recycling, up from 50 per cent the previous year.

The trade body for waste disposers, the Environmental Services Association, said England is likely to miss its recycling target.

Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association, said: “Despite the gloomy picture, we know that political change is on the horizon and that a raft of new policies are likely to give recycling the shot in the arm that it needs.”

It is an improvement from the 48per cent recycled the previous year but still falls short of the Government target of having half of the country’s household waste being recycled by 2020.

The figures have been revealed shortly after the council announced a climate emergency.