Recycling household waste in London ‘impossible’

It is “impossible” to recycle household rubbish in London because of a “postcode lottery”, the Green Party has said.

The capital’s 32 borough councils were asked for their policies on recycling seven items, including a plastic bucket, crisp packet, ballpoint pen and a bicycle tyre.

None could recycle all seven items.

The London Assembly Green Party has called on mayor Sadiq Khan to “take control of London’s waste”.

“It is too hard to know what to do with your rubbish in London. You can recycle bike tyres in Bexley but not Brent, and Hackney recycles foil but Hammersmith doesn’t,” Green Party member Caroline Russell said.

“When boroughs provide no clarity on what can be recycled, where, and in what condition, it is no wonder that London’s waste mountain keeps growing,” she added.

Bic Biro pens in a pot
Image captionNone of the London councils were able to recycle biro pens

The information, obtained via council websites and direct responses to questions from the Green Party, found 12 of the capital’s 32 boroughs could recycle a plastic bucket, 26 could take on Tetra Pak cartons and 13 could recycle all or part of a bicycle tyre.

Clean aluminium foil could be handled by 27 councils, while 17 recycled black plastic food containers.

Barnet, Bexley, Kingston upon Thames and Waltham Forest topped the list as they were able recycle five out of the seven items, but no authority was able to recycle a whole ballpoint pen or crisp packet.

Havering Borough Council was unable to deal with any of the items, while Kensington and Chelsea, and Enfield, could only recycle one item – Tetra Pak containers.

Chart showing household recycling rates in London boroughs

Government figures for 2018 to 2019 show the average amount of household waste recycled by councils nationally was 43.5%.

In London, Bexley recycled the most of its waste – 54.1% – beating the national average, while Newham council came bottom, only recycling 16.9% of its rubbish.

Croydon showed the biggest yearly percentage increase in its household recycling rate, up by 9.4%.

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