Resource Use

62 per cent of Londoners recycle more than a year ago, says WRAP

Recycling collector and lorry in Camden
A third of Londoners surveyed cited environmental concern as their main reason for recycling more
New data released by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) indicates 62 per cent of Londoners now recycle more than they did a year ago.

WRAP’s 2019 Recycling Tracker shows that nearly a third of London residents surveyed cited growing environmental concern and increased awareness of climate change as their main reason for recycling more.

The report results were published as part of Recycle Week (23-29 September), the UK’s annual week to raise awareness of the importance of recycling. Organised by WRAP under the Recycle Now brand, the week involves activities across the country to encourage participation in positive recycling behaviour.

A number of Recycle Week events in London have been coordinated by London Recycles, including a bottle exchange in Greenwich, where council recycling teams will collect single-use bottles and offer reusable water bottles in return, while Lewisham Council held a free sewing workshop last night (23 September) to encourage people to repair their clothes. Tomorrow evening (25 September), the London Eye will be lit up in green in support of Recycle Week.

Other London boroughs are providing advice to their residents on particular recycling issues. Camden Council is advising its residents to thoroughly clean out food containers to prevent them from being rejected as contaminated, while Hackney Council is taking to Twitter to quiz residents on which plastic packaging items can and can’t be recycled.

Ali Moore, Campaign Manager at London Recycles, said: “With more and more Londoners wanting to take positive action to help the environment, one simple but significant step we can all take is to make sure we get our recycling right. We’re encouraging everyone in the capital to take action and recycle more this Recycle Week.

“Recycling really matters. Recycling an item rather than throwing it in the rubbish bin means that it will be dealt with in the most environmentally friendly way, keeping materials in use. If each of us re-used or recycled just one more thing each day, it would make a huge difference.”

Read more about Recycle Week: Recycling is ‘in our own hands’ for national recycle week

The variation in recycling collection systems in different areas can lead to a lot of recycling confusion and is something the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) aims to standardise the materials collected at the kerbside by 2023, as proposed in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, while plans to introduce a standardised collection system are also under consideration.

WRAP’s report highlighted that, although UK households are recycling more, non-recyclable items such as plastic toys, toothpaste tubes and plastic carrier bags are also being placed in kerbside boxes, potentially contaminating the whole collection, meaning it may end up being sent to landfill.

The full Recycling Tracker 2019 results can be found on WRAP’s website.

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