London Assembly Launches Investigation Into Waste Management

The London Assembly’s Environment Committee has launched an investigation into London’s waste generation, handling and disposal, with an aim of reducing waste and promoting the city’s move towards a circular economy.

London generates a huge amount of waste – in 2015/16 local authorities collected 3.7 billion tonnes.

Since 2000, landfill has reduced considerably, but in recent years waste reduction and recycling have stagnated and further waste diverted from landfill has instead shifted to incineration, the Assembly says.

Local authorities are a crucial player in waste management, providing or commissioning either individually or in partnership household waste collection, handling and processing services.

Private waste management companies provide many of these services on behalf of local authorities and also provide commercial waste services, which are not included in municipal (domestic) waste collections.

The three areas of investigation the Assembly will focus on are:

  • waste reduction and the circular economy – how to reduce waste and utilise the circular economy
  • recycling – the potential to develop greater consistency in household recycling and food/organic waste collections between London boroughs
  • energy from waste – the role of energy from waste plants (incinerators and potentially others) in managing residual waste.

The Committee will explore the Mayor’s role in reducing the costs and environmental impacts of London’s waste and how it is handled. The investigation will build on earlier Committee work and identify recommendations to the Mayor and potentially other London actors.

The Committee will be looking at these key questions:

  1. What are the issues and challenges in seeking to reduce the costs and environmental impacts of London’s waste and how it is handled?  You may wish to consider: a. reducing the materials content of goods and packaging, b. re-use, repair, sharing and other “circular economy” methods for keeping used goods out of the waste stream, c. how to increase recycling rates and improve household recycling collection systems and Londoners’ use of them, d. how to increase anaerobic digestion and the segregation of volatile waste matter from residual dry waste, e. disposal of waste that is not recycled, and the role and environmental implications of energy from waste by incineration or other methods
  2. How, and how well, do the Mayor’s current policies and programmes promote the sustainable management of London’s waste?
  3. What new or different ideas and approaches could improve the Mayor’s policies?  Are there examples from other parts of the country or the world?
  4. How should the Mayor change policies or programmes?

The Committee welcomes contributions from members of the public, local authorities, private waste management companies and other stakeholders. Find out more by reading the investigation call for evidence.

Submissions should aim to address the areas outlined above, and any other issues that may be important for the investigation to cover.

To contribute, please email Grace Loseby, Assistant Scrutiny Manager via with your views by 28 July 2017.

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