Recycling rate down again

Recycling bins
The amount of recyclable waste put into brown and green bins in Waltham Forest is less than a third of the total waste collected (credit Penny Dampier)

Report by James Cracknell

Household recycling rates in Waltham Forest have fallen for a fourth consecutive year, new data shows.

The proportion of domestic waste recycled in 2018/19 was 31.6%, down from 32.5% in 2017/18 and well below the 50% target Waltham Forest Council had aimed to reach by 2020. The London average rate is 33.4%.

Last year Clyde Loakes, the council’s cabinet member for environment, blamed “increased consumer awareness around the harm caused by single-use plastics” and “goods less likely to be sold in heavy packaging” for falling recycling rates. Responding to yet another drop in recycling, Cllr Loakes said: “We are seeing some promising progress.

“For example, over the Christmas period we saw 26 tonnes more recycling collected, 25 tonnes less refuse collected, and a 75% decrease in recycling rejected due to contamination.

“From March we are increasing the items that residents can recycle on their doorstep – adding clothing including shoes, domestic batteries and small electrical appliances.

“We are one of only a few councils who still offer residents a weekly recycling and refuse collection and the only borough in London with three household waste and recycling centres – most have just one. We are also the only borough to offer a free unlimited large item collection service, which helps divert items and materials into recycling and reuse. We are set to start collecting food waste from flats with communal bins on a weekly, rather than fortnightly, basis, in March.

“We recognise there is still more work to be done to encourage recycling and educate people about issues such as contamination of materials in green bins, and we hope residents will continue to work with us to increase recycling and reduce the borough’s impact on the environment.

“Maybe 2020 is the year we turn a corner.”