Why is London rubbish at recycling?

Filed in Guest Posts by on January 24, 2017 6 Comments
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why is london rubbish at recycling - envirowaste and myzerowasteLondon is arguably one of the most hip and happening capital cities in the world.

Bustling and buzzing, it’s no surprise that many would think London is at the forefront of recycling and looking after the environment in our capital.

However, new research from London rubbish clearance service Envirowaste has shown otherwise, and in fact, London is pretty rubbish at it.

Almost 90% of London is below national average for household recycling

At present, the average recycling rate lingers at around 33% with some boroughs as low as 17%, a far cry away from the European recycling target of 50% by the year 2020. In fact, in terms of domestic recycling, only four out of the 32 London boroughs were above the national average.

At the top of the best recycling boroughs were Bexley, Bromley, Kingston upon Thames and Harrow; all with over 45% of properties and businesses recycling the majority of their waste.

At the other end of the scale, boroughs such as Wandsworth, Westminster, Newham and Lewisham were all below 20%. To see where your borough ranked, check out the full list on the Envirowaste blog.

What are the reasons behind this low recycling rate in the capital?

Many reasons behind London’s poor attitude towards recycling have been put forward. Reasons such as the city’s ever growing population, which has made recycling more difficult to enforce, as well as the number of people renting compared with homeowners.

Others have blamed high rise buildings and shared housing, but there are still many ways Londoners can participate in recycling.

CEO of Envirowaste James Rubin said: “It’s very surprising to discover that the majority of London is falling below the UK national average, especially with wealthy boroughs like Westminster where the household recycling rate is just 19.10%.

The European recycling target rate is 50% by 2020 for the UK, we’re certainly on the right path as a country but it’s evident that there are certain areas in the capital that could be doing much more”.

How can London improve recycling habits?

For London to get on track with their 2030 target of 65% it will require some work on improving attitudes towards recycling. Landfill space is constantly running out, and sooner or later recycling won’t be an option but a necessity for people living in and around London.

There are many simple tweaks you can do in your life in order to recycle more. One of these is through using a green waste disposal and recycling service such as Envirowaste.

Rubin adds: As a business, we’re determined to make London a more environmentally friendly city and will be focusing our efforts on the underperforming boroughs to help get residents recycling more!”

Envirowaste manages to ensure that 92% of waste is directed away from landfill. In addition to dry recycling and food waste, it’s also important to think about WEEE disposal. WEEE is waste electronic and electronic equipment, which is a huge threat to the environment if disposed of incorrectly. This is why Envirowaste reuse or recycle 100% of WEEE items.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (6)

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  1. Darren Woodiwiss says:

    My sister lives in Ladbrook Grove and they were rationed on how many recycling bags they were allowed. So A) it is single stream recycling with high contamination rates and B) after their bags are used, into the general waste it goes.

    • Mr Green says:

      That sounds like an odd system, Darren – surely we should give people as many recycling containers as they need? It sounds like such a waste of valuable materials 🙁

  2. jadwriter says:

    I live in Lewisham, and I recycle as much as I can. They collect our bins when we put them out at the front. We put ours out every other week except Xmas because there isn’t enough to collect. I am doing my best to recycle more.

  3. jadwriter says:

    Forgot to say that we now have brown bins for garden waste, which we have to pay for. Used ours a lot these last few months.

  4. Tim Fogarty says:

    I live in Lewisham. Recycling here is very difficult. Collections are frequently missed, recycling facilities are inadequate and many requests for recycling bins are not fulfilled. Also you cannot phone or email the recycling department and any online messages to them are frequently ignored.

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