North London Waste Authority releases new circularity plan

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has released a new plan detailing its move towards a circular economy. Titled ‘Preserving Resources, Driving Change’, it focuses on the need to cut down on unnecessary waste.

Islington food waste NLWAThe plan sets out actions it will take until 2025, including providing significant financial support for community groups; influencing businesses to design out waste; and campaigning for the Government to ban more avoidable and unecological waste. The NLWA met with 35 organisations, including charities and NGOs, to create the priorities which inform these actions. 

Notably, the NLWA’s North London Community Fund will more than double in 2023 to 2024 to £250,000. The fund is an annual grant which funds community groups to run projects which prevent waste. Community groups can apply for up to £15,000 per project.

The waste authority is also researching effective options to support residents who wish to switch to reusable period products, an addition to the current nappy voucher scheme. The scheme provides nappy vouchers worth £54.15, which the local authority is considering increasing.

Another highlight of the plan is the support of further trials surrounding food waste. Islington Council, in partnership with NLWA, is in the process of running a trial on Holloway Road to provide residents living in flats above shops with communal food waste bins. 500 kilos of food scraps were collected in the first month of the trial.

The local authority is also researching ways to recycle traditionally hard-to-recycle items such as carpets and hard plastics, including toys and crates. The NLWA has previously put similar effort into mattresses and expanded polystyrene recycling.

The NLWA says it hopes to ‘further influence debate and policy at both local and national levels’. It points to its campaign for a ban on further single-use plastics and for the implementation of a 50p charge on disposable coffee cups as part of its potential influence.

A new education centre is also expected for Edmonton EcoPark in Enfield which will be open to schools, local interest groups, and residents. The goal of the centre will be to promote the prevention of waste and the circular economy.

The NLWA serves two million residents and is responsible for the management of household waste and recycling in seven north London Boroughs: Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, and Waltham Forest.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, the chair of NLWA, said: “By reusing, repairing, and recycling on a greater scale throughout north London, we can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the loss of precious resources but also the major costs associated with the disposal of short-lived, unecological products.

“NLWA’s new plan will put communities and people at the very heart of the circular economy and waste prevention, giving them more funding, more services, and more hope. Our work to influence business and the Government will also help create much-needed changes across the UK and beyond.

“As a country, we need to reimagine waste. With Government incentives in place, the UK could build thriving reuse and repair industries. Encouraging investment in the UK manufacturing of products made with recycled content would also supercharge the transition to a circular economy, bringing scores of green jobs and industries.”