‘On the go’ recycling for London’s commuters
by David Masters
May 29, 2009
London’s shameful recycling rate – one of the worst in the UK – should be tackled with a citywide ‘on the go’ recycling scheme, the London Assembly said this week.
The Assembly called on Mayor Boris Johnson to take the ‘next logical step’ in improving the capital’s recycling performance by putting recycle bins in the city’s streets, parks, and shopping centres, as well as at underground stations and bus stops.
A 37-page report by the Assembly’s environment committee said the Mayor should engage more with the private sector to encourage recycling, place consistent recycling signs throughout the city, and cater for the needs of London’s 968,000 daily commuters who use the city’s public transport network.
“Household collection is reasonably well established in London, so the next logical step is to target other places to collect people’s recycling,” the report reads, citing the capital’s large number of tourists, commuters and office workers.
Darren Johnson, deputy chair of the London Assembly environment committee, said: “While Londoners’ facilities for recycling at home have improved greatly over recent years, it can be a real headache finding decent recycling facilities when you’re out and about – whether on the Tube, out shopping or at a football match.
“The Mayor must take action to ensure London is at the forefront of the recycling industry.
“Almost one million people commute into central London on an average working day by public transport and recycling should not end at home.”
The report also calls on the Mayor to ensure that plastic waste can easily be recycled in the city by opening a mixed plastic recycling facility in the capital.
Johnson said: “The environmental cost of disposable plastic food and drink containers is higher than ever. The capital recycles or composts just 22 per cent of its municipal waste, and cannot continue to cope with the amount of rubbish going to landfill.”
According the report, if all of London’s plastic currently sent to landfill or incineration was recycled, the city would reduce its carbon footprint by 1.2 million tonnes, and save over £44 million per year.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said Boris Johnson ‘agrees’ that street recycling is ‘extremely important’.
She added: “The Mayor doesn’t have authority to install new recycling bins across London, as this is a borough responsibility, but is working closely with the boroughs to make it easier for Londoners to recycle.”
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