Waste policy

We want to turn London waste into an opportunity – by reducing waste, reusing and recycling more of it and turning what’s left into low carbon energy. This will also help London to manage more of its waste locally, save Londoners money on disposal costs, generate local green jobs, and reduce CO2 emissions.

Our waste policies are driven by the London Plan.

Chapter 7 of the London Environment Strategy sets out our policies and proposals for reducing the amount of municipal waste produced, increasing the amount of waste reused, recycled or composted, and generating low carbon energy from waste remaining. This chapter includes household and commercial waste (as per the European definition of municipal waste). Chapter 7 also sets out how through the London Waste and Recycling Board we will continue to support London boroughs in improving recycling rates and reducing waste.

The Mayor's objectives are:

  • drive resource efficiency 
  • maximise recycling rates
  • reduce the environmental impact of waste activities 
  • maximise local waste sites and ensure London has the infrastructure to manage all the waste it produces

The London Environment Strategy Proposal 7.2.1.b sets out the Mayor's expectation for local authorities to develop Reduction and Recycling Plans (RRPs) by 2020, which should include local reduction and recycling targets that contribute to the Mayor's London wide targets. An RRP Guidance Note has been produced, alongside an RRP Template (Appendix 1) and RRP Frequently Asked Questions, to clarify what local authorities are expected to include in their RRPs.

We have updated the greenhouse gas Emissions Performance Standard (EPS). This measures how much greenhouse gases are produced through London's municipal waste management activities. The update has taken in to account:

  • new greenhouse gas metrics
  • London's potential recycling performance, including business waste recycling
  • the time it will take to achieve the targets

This innovative approach supports waste and recycling services, technologies and techniques delivering the greatest carbon dioxide and cost saving benefits. More information can be found in the EPS review report. Boroughs and waste operators can assess the greenhouse gas performance of waste management options against the Mayor’s EPS targets using an online calculator together with an easy to follow user manual.

Proposal 7.2.1.b sets out the Mayor’s proposal to hold a contract register to monitor when waste authority contracts come up for renewal. The register is designed to be available for all waste authorities to view and support joint working and joint procurement opportunities. Joint working can provide better value for money on ‘like for like’ services and achieve service harmonisation across borough boundaries to help remove barriers to recycling. The Waste Contracts Register can be viewed on the London Datastore.

What we’re doing to help reduce waste and increase recycling

You can see London’s waste performance on the Data Store by searching for 'waste'.

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