Parliament recycling hits 64 per cent after waste drop

The amount of waste recycled on the Parliamentary Estate has risen to 64 per cent of total waste recycled following a change in waste contract.

Parliament recycling hits 64 per cent after waste dropResponding to a written question by former Shadow Environment Secretary Kerry McCarthy MP, Liberal Democrat Tom Brake, speaking for the House of Commons Commission, which is responsible for services across the 14-site Parliamentary Estate including the Houses of Commons and the Palace of Westminster, explained that the amount of waste produced fell for the second year in a row, while

Brake revealed that the total amount of waste produced by the Estate in 2016 had fallen to 1,595 tonnes, down from 1,622 tonnes in 2015 and a peak of 1,847 tonnes in 2014.

The total amount of waste recycled in 2016 increased to 1,017 tonnes from 1,010 tonnes in 2015, amounting to 64 per cent of total waste, up from 62 per cent in 2015.

The majority of the waste recycled comprised of mixed dry recycling (382 tonnes) with glass recycling supplying 249 tonnes and food waste collected for treatment 195 tonnes.  

In addition to the waste streams detailed above, Parliament also recycles its consumables, metal, cooking oil, lamps, and fittings.

Speaking about the figures, Brake said: “Parliament continues to explore new opportunities to recycle and recover waste in collaboration with its waste service providers.

“Parliament commenced a new waste contract in November 2016, and the specification for the services included a written requirement for a continual improvement approach to collaborative waste recycling improvement.

“It is the contractual duty of the waste service provider to give advance notice of changes in best practice and waste recycling technology, and to incorporate these into their service provision in the most expedient and effective way possible.”

Bywater’s contract

The Houses of Parliament handed a five-year contract to London-based waste management company Bywater’s in November 2016 after an open tender, with the aim of increasing the Estate’s recycling and sustainability efforts.

Bywater’s is not only responsible for the collection and disposal of waste produced by the Parliamentary Estate at its Recycling and Recovery Centre in Bromley-by-Bow, but also for providing consultancy services on how to continually improve Parliament’s recycling activities.

These services and support include training for cleaning staff and a communications campaign for staff and MPs to encourage good recycling habits.

This new contract and the latest recycling figures indicate a commitment on the part of Parliament to reduce its own waste footprint which one must hope will be replicated in the policy-making process on a national scale.

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