The latest recycling league tables have Kirklees as well below the national average.

Less than a third of our rubbish was recycled last year (26.7%) – far lower than the England average (43.7%)

While other councils figures have increased Kirklees’ has dropped back to the level of 2008/09.

But the council has said as it burns much of its waste in the incinerator off Leeds Road – generating electricity in the process – it considers its recycling rate to be nearer 90%.

The European Union is set to demand councils recycle at least half of their household waste by 2020, a figure already reached in Calderdale (60.4%).

Kirklees Green Party leader, Clr Andrew Cooper, said he thought much more could be done.

He said: “We don’t fare too well in the statistics. I know other councils have had better deals for recycling, not in terms of cost, but in terms of what does and doesn’t get recycled. Others have separated waste so it doesn’t all go in one single green bin.

“That has helped the recycling rate for some authorities.

READ MORE: Kirklees Council reveals the shock truth about what people put in their green bins

“Other things can be recycled it’s just a matter of whether the council is geared up to do it.

“Glass bottles is the big one - we were doing it but that’s been taken out of the mix.”

Clr Cooper said everyone should play their part but said more could be done to teach people about the contribution they could make and the implications of not putting enough recycling in your green bin.

“One thing the council can do is help with education,” he said.“What’s the council doing to help with awareness to people who think, ‘Oh I can just bung this in it doesn’t matter’, because they don’t appreciate what happens at the other end?

Green Clr, Andrew Cooper.

“What are we doing to educate the public so they can recycle better? It’s not just a matter of putting a green bin outside their house and saying get on with it.

“We should encourage people to use them, it gives them more capacity to get rid of their waste.

“I think if we do find a particular household where there’s an issue or a problem, it would make sense to chase that up with them and say, ‘Do you realise what you’re doing?’.

“You can wag your finger at people, but the council’s job is to encourage people to do the right thing. Ultimately if more things go to waste and end up in landfill, it will cost more for the council tax payer.”

READ MORE: Recyling league of shame for Kirklees while Calderdale comes top

The long running recycling contract with firm Sita is due to end in 2016 and Clr Cooper said it could herald an improvement for Kirklees.

He said: “The opportunity is there to look afresh at what is, and what isn’t recycled. The council will be in discussion with Sita about whether it continues or whether we go out to tender.

“We’ve got to get a good deal for council tax payers and maximise recycling rates.

“The contract has been going for 15 years so there is a chance to see what is possible these days in terms of recycling.”

Responding to the low recycling rate in Kirklees, a council spokesperson said: “Overall we recycled or recovered energy from 90.2% of our waste at the lowest total waste management cost in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

We provide all our waste collection services, waste disposal and household waste sites for just 80p per person per week, close to half the cost of some of our neighbours.”

Information from Kirklees Council about what can go in your green bin
Information from Kirklees Council about what can go in your green bin

But Clr Cooper said the figure was misleading.“It’s not waste to energy, it’s waste to electricity,” he said. “We’re not utilising the heat that’s generated by the incinerator.

“The whole time it’s been operating I’ve been complaining about all the wasted heat it produces. The danger is that we become reliant on sticking rubbish through it. It veers us away from recycling.

“There’s evidence to suggest that’s done.

“The other concern is recycled material is travelling miles and miles up to the north east.

“We’ve got to look at the whole cycle of recycling.”

The Examiner revealed in 2012 that Sita was to reduce the number of shifts at the Hillhouse sorting facility and ship thousands of tonnes to a more modern facility north of Newcastle.

Clr Cooper said one solution to boost recycling would be a joint deal with other neighbouring councils in West Yorkshire.

He added: “Perhaps we’d get a better deal if we worked with other authorities like Calderdale.”