Householders are being urged to improve the quality of the material they put in their recycling bins as contamination is dramatically reducing its commercial value.

That is the theme of this year's Recycling Week, which starts today.

The initiative is organised by Repak, the industry-funded group focused on improving recycling rates.

Repak wants the public to recycle more and recycle better, particularly in the bathroom where half of plastic bottles are thrown out.

People are being urged to wash out items such as food cans, because if they contaminate the other recyclables it will dramatically reduce their value.

According to a Repak study, 60% of people do not rinse out things such as wine bottles.

They place them directly into the recycling bin, where they can render all of the other materials worthless.

High-grade recycled products are deemed essential in the current depressed global market, because prices have collapsed.