London Needs 40% More Recycling From Flats

In The London Assembly Environment Committee’s latest report, “Waste: Household recycling”, which was released yesterday, it was reported that there will need to be a 40 per cent increase in recycling in flats if the Mayor’s recycling target is to be met by 2030.

In addition, it added that measures such as limiting bin size, reducing the frequency of general waste collections and introducing fines for households that don’t recycle should all be considered urgently.

The London Plan could address recycling capacity in new developments to ensure new flats are equipped with the right recycling facilities, the report explained, citing the example of Milan, where municipal recycling increased dramatically by introducing food waste collections to all properties, including flats.

It also identified some particularly seasonal problems with Lindon’ recycling, including:

  • Londoners are set to use around 38,000 tonnes of paper and card this Christmas – that amount could wrap Big Ben more than 34,000 times.
  • Each year in London we throw away 890,000 tonnes of food from our homes, of which 540,000 tonnes (enough to fill 42,000 London buses) could have been eaten.
  • One year’s worth of a borough’s domestic food waste could generate enough electricity to power a local primary school for over 10 years.
  • Each London household will need to recycle 2000 more Christmas cards to reach the Mayoral recycling target of 42 per cent by 2030.
  • 85 per cent of London’s residents believe recycling makes a difference, yet our recycling rates remain some of the worst in the UK.

Leonie Cooper AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: “When Christmas is over, London will be left with thousands of tonnes of recyclable waste and perfectly edible food, a large proportion of which, will no doubt go to landfill or incineration.

“The recycling rates in London are laughable when compared to other major European cities, so we must take the issue more seriously. A new year is the perfect time to reflect and try to change old habits.

“With a rising population, scarce landfill space and more and more flats being built, time is running out to get a grip on this issue. Londoners need to be able to recycle more. It’s a win: win situation for the environment and for the tax payer. As the cost of sending waste to landfill increases, it’s the taxpayer who will end up footing the bill if recycling rates don’t improve.

The Mayor needs to take a real lead in increasing London’s recycling rates and efforts should be concentrated on getting more flats to increase their recycling levels.”


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