The borough council is concerned that items such as food, nappies, broken electrical items, prams and bicycle wheels have been put in brown bins.
Contents are then bulked up into economic loads before being sent off to a sorting factory for separation into paper cans plastic and glass.
But anything they find that is not recyclable is considered to be contamination which, in sufficient quantity, can result in whole loads of recyclable material being treated as waste, depriving the council of considerable income.
Council leader, Councillor Joe Orson, said: “I have always been proud of the support our residents never fail to demonstrate in co-operating with the services we provide.
“I am sure this is just a temporary problem and once word gets around that thoughtless actions of the minority can ruin the thoughtful actions of the majority we will bring our recycling efforts back to the standard I know Melton residents are proud of.”
With current low material values, recycling processors are only interested in the cleanest loads they can acquire, which means even small amounts of contaminants can cause a whole load to be rejected and consigned to a disposal route .
Amanda Hume, the council’s environmental services officer, said: “This is a real and growing problem. Even small amounts of the wrong material like pet wastes or used cooking oil can cause rejection.”