CAROLINE Lucas says burning recycling is “absolutely outrageous” and has urged waste firms to make sure re-usable material is never incinerated.

She made the comments after a council dustman blew the whistle on Veolia, the company that processes Brighton’s recycling.

Ken Quantick told The Argus that eight tonnes of recycling picked up by his crew every day were being sent to the incinerator at Newhaven.

Veolia said only contaminated material was rejected.

Now Ms Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, has said burning recycling risks “hugely undermining public confidence” in the system.

She said: “It would be absolutely outrageous if it’s true that Veolia is burning waste the public have made an effort to recycle.

“It risks hugely undermining public confidence and deterring people from recycling at exactly the time we need to be encouraging it.

“If contamination is an issue, the company and the council need to invest in educating the public and simplifying the system.

“Ministers must urgently introduce nationwide recycling rules to end confusion between different systems in different places, and waste firms need to increase their capacity to ensure that perfectly good material is never incinerated.

“At the same time, the secretary of state must swiftly introduce new laws to require a far higher percentage of recycled material in new products so we create more markets for recycled materials.”

Today The Argus reported Mr Quantick’s claims that Veolia was burning recycling from his round because it could not cope with the amount of material being taken into the depot at Hollingdean.

The 71-year-old bin lorry driver, who has worked for the council for 14 years, branded it a “public scandal”.

He said people had a right to know their efforts were going up in smoke.

The city council announced yesterday that it was investigating Veolia’s claims that recycling taken into the depot by Mr Quantick’s crew was contaminated with non-recyclable material.

Back in 2017 the Argus reported claims by another whistleblower who worked for Veolia that 50 tonnes a week of good quality cardboard recycling was being burned along with general waste at the Newhaven incinerator.

At the time, Mark Turner, branch secretary of the GMB union, confirmed that several of his members with access to the depot had made similar reports.

Veolia denied the claims and said only unsuitable cardboard was ever treated as general waste.

Ms Lucas has also accused Veolia of refusing to alter its 30-year contract with Brighton and Hove City Council to allow it to recycle a wider variety of plastics.

Currently it can only take plastic bottles, whereas other councils can recycle plastic pots, trays and other items.

Veolia said it was open to talks with waste collection authorities about change.