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Waste and recycling

The priority for London is boosting recycling rates, reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, making efficiency savings and continuing to provide high quality services

  • By Jennifer Sibley

Waste and recycling is a key service for local authorities in London as it affects all residents in a very direct way. Boroughs are seeking to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and provide a quality service for residents whilst cutting budgets. 

We work closely with partners LWARB (London Waste and Recycling Board) and WRAP who together provide a programme of support to boroughs to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and increase recycling rates, through the newly formed Resource London partnership. We are observers on the Board of Resource London. 

Our Transport and Environment Committee nominates four political members and two independent members to the LWARB Board, which sets the strategic direction of the organisation.

We are observers on LWARB's Investment Committee, which takes decisions about investing in new waste infrastructure for London, as much of London's waste is currently processed outside London. The Mayor and the government have set ambitious recycling targets for London. Current challenges include how to increase recycling in flats and estates, especially where buildings are high-rise, and how to extend additional collections such as textiles or food waste recycling to these residents. Reducing contamination in recycling is also a major issue. 

Our Executive committee received a report considering these challenges at its meeting in November 2013 which informs much of our current work. We also produced a collection of case studies entitled 'Helping London recycle more' in 2012 which looked at the ways boroughs are encouraging recycling.

Environmental Audit Committee Call for Evidence on Treasury contribution to meeting recycling targets

London Councils responded to the Environmental Audit Committee's call for evidence setting out our concerns at some Treasury policies and calling for a more holistic approach to be taken by Treasury, DCLG, DECC and Defra. Our response gave a series of recommendations for the Treasury to consider including those that could incentivise the use of recycled materials in packaging, or would encourage producers to make their product recyclable. We set out our concern at changes to feed-in tariffs and called for greater investment by government in promoting recycling, including consideration of the devolution of landfill tax and greater producer responsibility. 

Our response can be read in full here