Last year Sunderland was recycling 26 per cent of its waste and that has now risen to 30 per cent or three out of every ten tonnes is now going for recycling.
The council is now running a campaign to remind and encourage residents they can always recycle more.
A key part is reminding householders to wash it, squash it, and recycle it. And to only put metal cans, cardboard, aerosols, glass, and plastic bottles in their blue bins and not to contaminate them with soiled nappies, bagged waste, or even items such as clothing and toys.
Unusual items found recently in Sunderland's blue recycling bins have included fluffy slippers and what appears to be a ferret.
Councillor Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services at Sunderland City Council, said: "I'd like to thank everyone who is helping with recycling and helping to increase recycling levels.
"It's very simple, as people can always help and make the processing of their household recyclable much more easier.
"If items for the blue bin are washed and squashed it helps save space and you can fit more in. Plus, making sure the blue bin has the right materials in it.
"I've just visited the site where material from Sunderland's blue bins is recycled. The site is in Hartlepool and as our city's waste was being processed there were soiled nappies in the blue bins, fluffy slippers in the blue bins, and what looks like a ferret.
"These items can't be recycled however hard the staff at the recycling plant work to separate them out, and this contamination means some of the recycling is rejected and sent for energy from waste.
"The key aims of recycling are to maximise the amount of cans, glass, plastic, cardboard and paper we collect to reduce the environmental impact caused by producing new materials.
"Because these recycled materials have a value it is also economically much better to recycle than send contaminated materials for disposal by energy from waste.
"If you're in doubt about what goes into the blue bin - metal cans, glass, plastic and cardboard - don't put it in.
"It's also important to use the plastic caddy inside the blue bin for all paper, including newspapers, magazines and junk mail. This makes it easier to separate out all the other materials for recycling and improves the value of the paper collected."
Hartlepool company JB Recycling processes Sunderland's blue bin materials. It uses a range of high technology equipment to processes and separate the metal cans, glass, plastic bottles and food trays and cardboard, and also manually with picking staff who sometimes have to remove unpleasant non-recyclable materials by eye.
Matthew Tyrie, the company's Operations Director, said: "There's lots of materials that can be recycled to help save the environment. What can make recycling more difficult is if Sunderland's blue bins are contaminated, especially, with plastic bags, toys, used nappies and food waste."
For full details on what you can recycle in your blue bin, go to www.sunderland.gov.uk/bluebin