RECYCLABLE cardboard left out for collection is routinely being dumped in landfill at the orders of Stroud District Council, the SNJ has learned.

Refuse crews are being instructed to collect the re-useable material separately alongside all other non-recyclable rubbish, according to a whistleblower from waste contractors Veolia.

The worker, who asked not to be named, said the practice has been ongoing since SDC launched its revamped recycling scheme at the start of July.

An internal Veolia memo sent to all refuse crews earlier this month, which the employee said was circulated after staff demanded to see the order in writing, specifically instructs them to collect cardboard on non-recyclable waste weeks.

"What is the point of spending all that money on a recycling scheme if you are not going to recycle Ð it makes an absolute nonsense out of the whole thing," said the employee, who described the amount of cardboard send to landfill as 'considerable, certainly in the tons.'

"None of the crews are happy about this.

"We have had complaints from residents asking why we are putting cardboard in the back of our lorries."

A spokesman for neighbouring Cotswold District Council said crews will not collect the material on non-recycling weeks, while in nearby North Somerset, stickers are placed on items explaining why they have not been taken.

Cllr Simon Pickering, SDC's executive member for the environment, said: "The vast majority of residents already put their cardboard out with their recycling but for the small number that do put it out on non-recycling weeks by mistake, from the start of November we will not be collecting it.

"Instead we will be asking them to keep it until the next recycling day along with all other recyclables.

"Since we introduced the improved recycling service in July, the quantity of material being diverted from landfill has increased by nearly 50 per cent to 200 tonnes per week.

"Recycling collections are carried out fortnightly, which means that anything collected on the non-recycling week goes to landfill - this has not changed.

"The landfill vehicles only have one compartment and therefore they are not equipped to separately collect cardboard for recycling."