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Chip packets, plastic bags, coffee cups and polystyrene all might appear to be recyclable but if you have put any of those in your recycling bin lately you may have been left a note telling you to keep them out next time.
The Dunedin City Council is about four weeks into a 12-week inspection programme of the city's recycling bins and results are mixed.
Tags are left on bins which have been inspected, green for correct recycling and orange for bins with some incorrect items.
Bins with red tags are not emptied, because they contained general household waste.
Council waste minimisation education and promotions officer Catherine Gledhill said about 1200 bins had been inspected since June and 70% of them were tagged green.
About a quarter of the bins contained material such as milk and juice cartons which could not be recycled at the Green Island recycling plant.
''We've given them a yellow sticker which is effectively saying, 'hey you've just got a couple of things wrong and this is what you need to remove for next time and you'll be all right','' Ms Gledhill said.
About 5% of bins contained household rubbish and items such as used nappies or cigarette butts, which were not collected, she said.
About 250 bins were rechecked and the rate of contamination declined to about 10%.
Inspectors did not go through bins item by item, but rather had a good look and used their sense of smell.
''It's usually pretty easy to tell the recycling bin is being used as a rubbish bin.'' she said.
While most people knew cigarette butts or old clothing could not be recycled there were some materials such as soft plastics which could cause confusion, she said.