Trials of recycling bins at several Wollongong beaches have failed so far after too few people made the effort to do the right thing.
Austinmer Beach also turned up a "high level" of illegally dumped construction waste in the clearly marked yellow-lid bins.
Wollongong City Council will try again this coming summer despite the disappointing results from the previous season, which were worse than the year before.
From December 2022 to March this year, recycling bins were in place at Stanwell Park, Austinmer, Thirroul, Port Kembla beaches, and Windang foreshore.
All except Stanwell Park were audited, the council said, and of the 560kg of waste collected about 64 per cent of it was contaminated.
Some of this was from being covered in food waste, or worse at Austinmer.
"We found contaminated waste (e.g. recyclable material covered in food waste) in recycling bins at all locations," a council spokeswoman said.
"Of the four locations Austinmer Beach had the lowest contamination rate. However, Austinmer also had a high level of construction waste which had been illegally dumped in the bins."
The result is worse than the previous year, where the audit showed a contamination rate of 44 per cent.
The audit was done on the bins from January 23 to February 29, indicating the culprits were not only Sydney visitors during the school holidays.
"This was our second year of the program and we continue to learn about community members' waste habits," the spokeswoman said.
"This year's program saw an increase in signage on and around recycling and landfill bins to provide educational opportunities about public space recycling."
Locations for the coming summer's trial are yet to be determined.
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