Barnet targets recycling from flats

Barnet targets recycling from flatsRecycling in flats will be targeted in a new recycling and waste strategy in Barnet, London’s most populous borough, after a draft strategy was agreed at a meeting of Barnet Council’s Environment Committee on Monday (11 January).

The development of a draft ‘Municipal Recycling and Waste Strategy 2016 to 2030’ for the London borough, will, the council says, help it to deliver the  ‘Environment Committee Commissioning Plan 2015-2020’, which sets a number of household waste targets.

A new waste and recycling service was introduced in Barnet in 2013, and the council says that recycling rates have improved ‘significantly’, but the borough’s 2014/15 rate of 38 per cent fell short of its 41 per cent target.  

The commissioning plan sets targets of a 50 per cent household waste recycling rate, 502 kilogrammes of household residual waste per household and 502 kilogrammes of household recycling per household by the end of 2019/20.

The draft strategy, the council says, reiterates the council’s goal to raise recycling rates to help reduce the costs of sending waste from black bins to be incinerated, and to improve the environment.

Barnet last year became London’s most populous borough, with its 393,000 residents overtaking Croydon, and demands on services will continue to rise as the council predicts significant household growth in the coming years. This growth is balanced by spending cuts, which by 2020 will have seen the council’s spending power halved since 2010.

The collection system that was introduced in 2013 sees co-mingled dry recycling including paper, card, plastic bottles and metal cans and tins collected from either a blue bin or sack every week, with weekly collections of separate food and for some properties garden waste as well as weekly residual waste collections.

Draft strategy

The draft strategy will ask residents to take more responsibility over the waste they produce and encourage them to recycle more. This will be encapsulated in four key aims:

  • to provide services that help Barnet manage its environmental impact;
  • to encourage residents to reuse more to manage costs of waste collection and disposal;
  • to encourage residents, businesses and visitors to recycle the waste they produce, using enforcement where necessary; and
  • to embrace new technologies and ways of working that help improve the council’s waste and recycling service. 

To aid this, the draft strategy outlines plans to provide every household, including flats and those above shops, with easy access to the council’s mixed recycling service.

The council says that despite currently making up around 30 per cent of households in the borough, the area’s 44,000 flats only contributed one per cent of Barnet’s recycling rate. By 2030, the council predicts, over 36 per cent of households in the borough will be found in blocks of flats. This, the report states, means that planners and managing agents have a role to play in supporting waste services, while alternative approaches must be taken for existing flats.

The council thus plans to expand its mixed recycling service to all flats, and trial food waste collections. Removing residual waste chutes within blocks of flats will also be considered as a way of promoting recycling.

Consultation on the draft strategy will take place from 18 January to 13 March, with the results informing the final waste strategy and accompanying action plan.

Educating and encouraging residents

Chairman of Barnet Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Dean Cohen, said: “This new draft strategy gives us a roadmap to how we will manage our waste and recycling service in the foreseeable future.

“Barnet has made incredible progress with recycling since we introduced the new service in 2013, but we can do so much more. For example, we know that a considerable amount of waste residents put in their black bins can be recycled or reused and we can do a lot more to educate and encourage residents on this matter.

“It’s also not a secret that the council faces challenging financial times and we can all play our part by reducing our waste and recycling. It’s not only better for the environment to recycle, but it is cheaper than sending waste to be incinerated.

“I look forward to discussing this draft strategy with my colleagues.”

The report into the draft ‘Municipal Recycling and Waste Strategy 2016 to 2030’ can be found on the Barnet Council website.