ROGUE students are holding back Colchester’s recycling rate, it has been claimed.

Paul Smith, Colchester Council leader, said students leaving privately-rented accommodation either at the end of term or at the end of the academic year too often put all their rubbish in black bin bags and do not recycle.

The authority is working with Essex University and its Students’ Union to help students ahead of major changes to the waste collection system next month.

From June 20, some areas of the borough, including Greenstead, will be given wheelie bins for black sack waste, while areas without wheelie bins will be limited to three sacks per fortnightly collection.

Food waste and recycling collections are unchanged.

Mr Smith said: “We do have an issue with students at the end of term when it appears everything goes into black bin bags.

“The students’ union has been extremely helpful in working with students and explaining to them what Colchester does for recycling.

“They are told all the things you can recycle here and how it can be done.

“They are being explained to that part of being good citizens and fitting into the community is taking on the recycling procedures that we have here.”

The leader’s warning comes as 1,000 Colchester households, which are known to leave out too many black sacks on bin day, have been visited by zone wardens.

He said in one case, a family has been able to cut eight bins bags to one thanks to wardens’ advice.

The drastic changes were put in place by Dominic Graham (Lib Dem), previously councillor responsible for waste who has now stepped down.

They came as official figures showed the amount of Colchester waste going to landfill increased by almost 1,000 tonnes in the last year.

It means about 43,000 tonnes of waste was sent to landfill in 2015/16 - an average of 415 kg per home.

Council bosses have stated its aims for 48 per cent of all household waste to be recycled.

In 2014/15, the figure was 46.3 per cent but in 2015/16 it dropped to 45.2 per cent.

An Essex University spokesman said: "We’re happy to work with Colchester Council to increase recycling levels in the borough.

"We already work with our Students’ Union to provide advice and tips to students living off-campus about being a good neighbour including remembering to recycle.

"Recycling was one of the issues we talked about at this week's residents' association meeting with local residents, university and students' union representatives and local statutory services.

"We've now got plans for increasing our recycling efforts across the university community."

He added: "Through our Green Impact programme we're also working on sustainability issues with students living on campus and hopefully this will encourage them to develop good habits when they move to off-campus accommodation."