Caroline Russell by Chris King Photography

News from Caroline Russell: London recycling rates a trash fire

13 January 2020

London recycling rates a trash fire

Despite growing concerns from Londoners about plastic waste and the impact on our environment, London recycling rates have stagnated, but the amount of rubbish sent for incineration is going up, reveals Caroline Russell AM.

The average household recycling rate for London in 2018-19 was 33.4 per cent, an increase of just 0.3 per cent since the previous year. The Mayor’s recycling target is for 50 per cent by 2025 but if we continue at the current rate of miniscule improvements it will take 55 years to hit this target.

Croydon managed to get the best improvement by increasing recycling by 9.4 per cent, while at the bottom of the table Haringey’s recycling rate dropped by 3.6 per cent.

In 2018-19, London’s local authorities sent 58.3 per cent of the waste they collected to incineration with Energy-from-Waste (EfW), an increase of almost 3 per cent on the previous year. 

Caroline Russell says:

Recycling needs to be made easy for people to work. Stagnating recycling rates show that the current system is clearly not working for Londoners.

We’ve barely improved recycling rates this year, but conversely we’re burning more than ever. The Mayor’s own Environment Strategy says that more than 70 per cent of our household waste could be recycled.

Public feeling and concern about waste has never been higher so it’s a shame this just doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Mayor. Recycling saves money and helps cut carbon emissions, so it’s worrying to see how far we’re behind the national rates.


A full breakdown of borough recycling rates available below.

Notes to editors

Caroline is available for interview.

The national recycling rate is 43.5 per cent.

[1] ENV18 - Local authority collected waste: annual results tables, published on 28 November 2019

 

Household Recycling Rate for London

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

33.0%

33.1%

33.4%

 

Table 3a, Local authority collected waste generation from April 2000 to March 2019 (England and regions) and local authority data April 2017 to March 2019.xls

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/env18-local-authorit...

Overall 10 London boroughs saw recycling rates decrease.

Household recycling rate

2017/18

2018/19

% change

Croydon

37.90%

47.30%

+9.40%

Lewisham

21.80%

28.00%

+6.20%

Ealing

48.80%

52.60%

+3.80%

Westminster

18.80%

21.70%

+2.90%

Newham

14.10%

16.90%

+2.80%

Bexley

52.10%

54.10%

+2.00%

Hounslow

29.80%

31.40%

+1.60%

Merton

37.00%

38.50%

+1.50%

Kingston upon Thames

48.30%

49.40%

+1.10%

Wandsworth

22.10%

23.20%

+1.10%

Redbridge

23.90%

24.90%

+1.00%

Camden

30.30%

31.10%

+0.80%

Kensington and Chelsea

26.20%

27.00%

+0.80%

City of London

29.20%

29.90%

+0.70%

Richmond upon Thames

41.90%

42.50%

+0.60%

Hackney

27.40%

27.90%

+0.50%

Southwark

34.70%

35.20%

+0.50%

Havering

37.00%

37.40%

+0.40%

Lambeth

29.80%

30.10%

+0.30%

Brent

36.50%

36.60%

+0.10%

Bromley

50.00%

50.10%

+0.10%

Hammersmith and Fulham

23.70%

23.80%

+0.10%

Islington

29.50%

29.00%

-0.50%

Harrow

41.00%

40.20%

-0.80%

Sutton

50.00%

49.10%

-0.90%

Waltham Forest

32.50%

31.60%

-0.90%

Barking and Dagenham

25.00%

23.70%

-1.30%

Greenwich

35.10%

33.40%

-1.70%

Barnet

36.90%

34.60%

-2.30%

Enfield

35.90%

33.40%

-2.50%

Tower Hamlets

26.40%

23.20%

-3.20%

Hillingdon

40.00%

36.70%

-3.30%

Haringey

32.90%

29.30%

-3.60%

 

Local Authority collected waste generation from April 2000 to March 2019 (England and regions): 

ENV18 - Local authority collected waste: annual results tables, published on 28 November 2019

 

Local Authority collected waste sent to Incineration with EfW
 

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

52.9%

55.6%

58.3%

 

Table 2a, Local authority collected waste generation from April 2000 to March 2019 (England and regions) and local authority data April 2017 to March 2019.xls

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/env18-local-authorit...

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