Lewisham is the worst London borough for recycling household waste

The south-east London borough of Lewisham has been named the worst borough for household recycling in London following research carried out by a private sector waste company.

The information was taken from official data collected by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and local authorities.

New research reveals best and worst London borough recyclers

London borough of Westminster performs poorly on recycling survey

The national average for householder recycling is 44.9% in England.

According to the latest statistics, only 17.1% of residents in Lewisham are recycling their waste. While the residents of Newham aren’t performing much better, with only 17.2% their taking the time to recycle.

Out of the 32 London boroughs, it was Bexley which came out on top in this recycling war. An impressive 54% of householders here are regular recyclers; more than the national average.

Bromley and Kingston-upon-Thames were the only other boroughs beating the national average, with rates of 48% and 45.7% respectively.

Westminster was ranked 30 out of the 32 boroughs for its householders commitment to recycling, with a rate of 19.1%.

One industry expert involved in the research said he was surprised that the rate for Westminster was so low below the national average, considering it is one of the wealthiest London boroughs.

London’s seemingly poor recycling attitude has been blamed on the city’s growing population, which makes recycling harder to enforce, and the number of rented accommodation compared to properties occupied by homeowners.

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Hertfordshire haulage firm fined £28,000 for storing waste in breach of its environment permit

Winters Haulage has been fined £28,000 in Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court for breaching its environment permit following an investigation by the Environment Agency.

The firm is based in Hertfordshire but the breaches took place at its second site in Oakleigh Road South, in Southgate, London. Winters Haulage no longer operates from this site, but at the time of the offences, the company was storing waste in a manner which breached permit regulations.

Haulage firm fined £28,000 for waste permit breaches

Winters Haulage is based in Hertfordshire

The EA found waste wood, soil and plastic stored outside the reception area at the Oakleigh Road South site. Waste had also been allowed to build up to heights above the maximum of 2.5m permitted by the firm’s environment permit.

Mark Winters, the director at Winters Haulage, said that an arson attack at the company’s Hertfordshire premises had led to the waste offences, as it had been forced to dispose more waste than usual at the London site.

In court, the prosecutor for the EA claimed that Winter Haulage failed to act upon the agency’s advice and the problems went uncorrected.

Winters Haulage, which is allowed to operate 30 vehicles and 12 trailers, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,878.34 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Environment Agency officer, Ruth Shaw, commented: “Storing waste in excess of the amount permitted and outside rather than inside the designated covered area increases the potential risk to the environment and human health.”

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Pay-as-you-throw schemes would reduce waste production and increase recycling, according to the report

The Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management (ACR+) has published a report claiming that pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste schemes would increase recycling rates and help reduce the amount of waste produced each year.

The report, titled ‘Cross-analysis of ‘Pay-As-You-Throw’ schemes in selected EU municipalities’, discusses the financial and environmental benefits and potential negatives of introducing pay-as-you-throw waste systems in European municipalities.

PAYT report discusses the pros and cons

A PAYT system would reduce waste production and increase recycling, according to the report

The study focuses on PAYT systems in seven European cities in Sweden, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

According to the report, nations across the globe are not doing enough to tackle the increase in product consumption and waste production, caused by emerging economies, recovering economies and a global population growth.

The report states that: “Connecting consumption with environmental impact will make up a critical part of addressing this challenge, and PAYT offers a potential piece of this puzzle by giving citizens an incentive to reduce waste.”

The possibility of a PAYT system has been discussed by the UK government. Such a scheme would see residents charged for municipal waste disposal based on the amount they produce.

However, Defra resources minister, Rory Stewart, said the implementation of a PAYT system in the UK would receive too much public objection to be successful.

The report itself also addressed the potential problems of a PAYT scheme. It states that a ‘one fit for all’ would not work as “no municipality is the same”.

It also adds that local authorities would have to implement more frequent collections and also be prepared to educate residents on waste reduction and recycling, however, this would not completely reduce the risk of increased fly-tipping incidents.

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Germany is the top recycling nation

A new highly-detailed data report produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows the municipal recycling rates for its member countries.

The report shows the good, the average and the ugly; from the current leader, Germany, topping the table with a 65% recycling rate; to the USA, which is lagging behind many European countries, with a 35% recycling rate; and then to the struggling Turkey, which recycled a pitiful 1% of the nation’s municipal rubbish in 2013.

Here is a list of the top OECD nations that are leading the recycling race. (The results were collated by OECD and reflect the municipal waste that was recycled and composted in 2013):

  1. Germany (65%)
  2. South Korea (59%)
  3. Slovenia (58%)
  4. Austria (58%)
  5. Belgium (55%)
  6. Switzerland (51%)
  7. Sweden (50%)
  8. Netherlands (50%)

12. United Kingdom (43%)

In contrast, the following is a list of the OECD nations that are currently at the bottom of the recycling pile:

  1. Turkey (1%)
  2. Chile (1%)
  3. Mexico (5%)
  4. Slovakia (11%)
  5. Japan (19%)
  6. Greece (19%)
  7. Israel (19%)
  8. Czech Republic (24%)

According to Forbes, a report produced by Eurostat claims that Germany sent just 63.8million tonnes out of 353million tonnes of municipal waste to landfill in 2012 and just 11 million tonnes went to the incinerators. The remainder was either recycled or used for energy recovery.

There is a suggestion that Germany’s recycling success is partly due to its plastic bottle and aluminium can deposit system. One can often see unemployed/homeless people rooting around inside bins for any discarded bottles and cans. However, such systems are also used in Canada, where the recycling rate is just 24%.

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Public sector businesses believe they are better equipped to tackle world sanitation problem

A severe lack of hygienic sanitation in developing countries throughout the world causes 700,000 deaths every year, according to World Bank, who say the problem is responsible for many development issues.

Many private and public sector initiatives have been set up to tackle the problem as the United Nations makes ‘universal access to hygienic sanitation by 2030’ one of their Sustainable Development Goals.

The senior manager of the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), Jyoti Shukla, spoke out about the importance of safe sanitation for the world’s population. Ms Shukla said: “Stunting and malnutrition are directly related to poor sanitation; quality of learning and productivity is affected by sanitation; and dignity and empowerment of women and girls is influenced by how we deliver sanitation.”

Sanivation, a company based in Kenya, is just one of the private sector businesses tackling the issue. They install safe toilet stations in poverty stricken areas, slums and refugee camps and carry out weekly collections to remove the human waste.

Sanivation then treats the human waste at its processing plant, where it is mixed with agricultural products to create briquettes. The briquettes are then sold on to farmers who use them as fertilizer on their land. The business is making money from the collection of human waste, but the work that it is doing is important for developing countries.

Chief executive of Sanivation, Andrew Foote, believes that, in the case of providing safe sanitation to a wide network, private sector businesses are more effective than public sector and charity organisations.

Mr Foote said that, despite making progress: “…with rates of urbanisation and population growth, despite the efforts of many actors, the number of people lacking access to sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa and in urban areas has actually been increasing in the last 10 years.”

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