Mammoth clean-up sees 15 London buses-worth of litter cleared from Notting Hill Carnival route
This year marked the Notting Hill Carnival’s 50th anniversary, and an estimated two million party-goers showed up to join in with the world’s second largest carnival, an event 11 times bigger than Glastonbury festival.
As part of its contract with Westminster City Council, waste management company Veolia provided a team of 170 street cleaners, refuse staff and waste managers and 60 waste vehicles, including refuse trucks and mechanical sweepers to manage the festival’s waste.
To clean the streets ‘as quickly and efficiently as possible’, the waste crews were split into 15 teams spread out along the carnival’s 3.5 mile-long route and started working minutes after the festival closed.
The crews were in action for three hours on Sunday (28 August) and four hours on Monday night (29 August) to get the streets clean enough for the beginning of the working week on Tuesday morning.
Palm trees, drums and coconuts
The majority of waste collected consists of plastic bags, plastic bottles and food packaging, although unusual items such as papier mâché dragons, feathered headdresses, inflatable palm trees, broken samba drums and coconuts also appear every year.
From previous years, Veolia says the most commonly collected items are Caribbean flags, chicken wings, rum bottles (of which around 25,000 are taken every year), beer cans and whistles.
Once collected, the recyclable material is separated from the collected waste and sent for processing. Veolia says that the remaining waste will be converted into energy, including around 97,200 kilowatt hours (kWh) of and approximately 19,600 kWh of heat, enough to power 80,000 hot showers or travel 84 kilometres on the Tube.
In addition to the street cleaning, households that line the carnival route will be offered free front garden and basement cleaning services to get rid of any litter tossed over boundaries. These are due to begin on Wednesday morning (31 August)
Dealing with carnival waste in the “most sustainable way possible”
Vincent Masseri, Veolia’s Senior Contract Manager, said: “While the clean-up following Notting Hill Carnival represents a sizeable challenge, it’s one we relish because it’s a real team effort. We deal with the waste in the most sustainable way possible and ensure everything is spotless ahead of rush hour on Tuesday morning.
“The Notting Hill Carnival is such a fantastic event for the capital, and I would like to thank everyone who was involved in ensuring the clean-up went smoothly. The recyclable materials collected by the Veolia Westminster team have been sent for processing and the remaining waste will be converted to green energy – generating approximately 97,200 kWh of electricity.”
Cllr Melvyn Caplan, the Cabinet Member for City Management at Westminster City Council, added: “We are proud to support the Notting Hill Carnival, and provide such an efficient clean-up service to get the streets tidy after one of Europe’s biggest street parties. Through the hard work and commitment of our clean-up operatives, you wouldn’t know such a huge event had taken place, and I know residents and visitors appreciate their efforts to get the streets back to normal.”