Its report, “Waste: The Circular Economy”, examines how a circular economy could offer a solution to the problem of an unsustainable waste management model – and strengthen London’s economy at a time of “uncertainty”.
It found that by adopting a circular model for its waste, London could:
- reduce 60%m of its waste by 2041
- put London “on track” to become carbon-neutral
- create 12,000 new jobs by 2030
- provide £7bn net benefit to London’s economy.
Environment Committee chair, Leonie Cooper AM, said: “The way we deal with waste in London needs to change. Recycling rates have fallen, the population continues to grow, and landfill space is quickly running out.
“We acknowledge the importance of the Route Map produced by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and we’re delighted to see importance given to the circular economy in the Mayor’s Draft Environment Strategy.
“Clearly we are in the early stages of change. This is further demonstrated by the growing popularity of innovative recycling websites and apps. The potential for new jobs is enormous.
“Where we go from here, however, is crucial. The Mayor needs to take a visible lead in pushing the circular economy forward. This should start with ensuring that organisations in the GLA Group procure goods and services in line with its principles.
“The way we deal with waste in London needs to change. Recycling rates have fallen, the population continues to grow, and landfill space is quickly running out.”
“The Mayor should set a whole-city vision which includes specific milestones towards growing the circular economy. Awareness also needs to be vastly improved among London’s businesses and an outreach programme led by the Mayor would address these issues.”
The report states that in “30 years, local authorities will need to collect an extra one million tonnes of waste – equal to an additional 500,000 refuse trucks of rubbish each year”.
In response, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) says this shows a need for national separate food waste collections.
Commenting on the report, Jeremy Jacobs, Head of Organics Recycling at the Renewable Energy Association said: “This important report is a milestone for London’s waste and recycling sector and hopefully will be the turning point we look back on and say ‘this is where recycling rates in the capital ceased to decline.
“Wales and Scotland have significantly improved recycling rates by introducing a mandatory separate food waste collection scheme, and independent economic analysis conducted by Eunomia Consulting shows that in England, local authorities can assist in reducing costs by introducing a mandatory separate collection of food waste, if action is taken by central Government.
“We call on the Government in Westminster to take action nationally by introducing separate food waste collections.”