London's recycling rates flatline

MQT on 2013-12-18
Session date: 
December 18, 2013
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


London's household recycling rates only rose from 32 per cent in 2009/10 to 34 per cent in 2011/12, with the slowest annual rises in almost a decade. Last year they flatlined, staying at 34 per cent, and across the Western Riverside Waste Authority recycling rates fell significantly. How do you expect to reach your recycling target of exceeding 45 per cent in the next three years?


Answer for London's recycling rates flatline

Answer for London's recycling rates flatline

Answered By: 
The Mayor

You are right to point out that recycling rates have flat-lined in London. However, they have done so throughout England, so we are not an isolated case.

However, since I was elected the amount of waste sent to landfill has more than halved.

And the amount of waste produced per Londoner is down over 25% since I was first elected and is the least in the country.

A question that is worth asking is whether targets just based on weight are sensible. Is 1kg of garden waste as valuable as 1kg of aluminium cans? That is why I have set a carbon metric in my municipal waste management strategy. We should focus our attention on valuable materials with a lot of embedded carbon. And on that measure for dry recycling, London is doing quite well.