Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Recycling in London Has Fallen for the First Time

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Recycling in London Has Fallen for the First Time

Article excerpt

Jonathan Prynn Consumer Business Editor THE amount of rubbish being recycled by Londoners has fallen for the first time on record, official figures show.

Only 33.9 per cent of the waste thrown out by households was made available for reuse in the year to April, down from 34 per cent.

Most of the remaining rubbish goes to landfill sites or is incinerated. The drop, although small, represents the first time that recycling rates have slipped back in London since records began in 2000.

It is a major setback for the Government's efforts to hit a national target of 50 per cent household recycling by 2020. Waste experts said the drop -- after years of progress -- was the result of the Coalition scrapping its own statutory target in 2010 and local government devoting less resources to the recycling drive due to budget cuts.

The bottom seven performing London councils all saw a year-on-year fall in household recycling rates: Barking and Dagenham, Lambeth, Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, Lewisham and Newham, which had the lowest rate at 17.7 per cent.

Only four town halls -- Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Kingston upon Thames -- achieved recycling rates above the national average, which flat-lined at around 44 per cent for the second year in a row.

Bexley was highest for the second year running with 55.2 per cent. The highest percentage point improvement came from Harrow -- up 4.4 points to 49.2 per cent. Rates of recycling of waste such as bottles, paper and plastic have always been lower in inner London because so much of its population lives in large blocks of flats.

Green Party London Assembly member Baroness Jones said: "Some boroughs like Bexley, Bromley and Harrow are trailblazing recycling for London, while others simply appear to have given up. …

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