London’s Recycling Crisis

According to recent data from the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, London has the lowest recycling rate of all of the regions in England. With household recycling rates 4-20% lower than the English average depending on the borough, what is the cause of this problem and what can be done to increase recycling in London? The easiest way is to achieve this is to hire rubbish removal firm in west London that recycle around 98% of the waste they collect.

One issue with recycling is a lack of uniform availability. People living in flats in London don’t always have the same access to waste disposal recycling. For example, if you live in a flat and want to recycle electronics you can’t do so from your home like people in Middlesex Street Estate. This leads to recyclable goods being sent to landfills and incinerators because of a lack of convenience.

If the access to recycling in London could be better, why hasn’t it been improved?  Who is to blame?  In 2013 Jenny Jones wrote a piece for The Guardian in which she opined that the cause was related to the city’s slow adoption of new green technology while leaning on incinerators as a “quick fix” to get rid of the city’s waste.

Jenny Jones’ argument for additional anaerobic digester plants is compelling. These plants can produce biogas which can be used for many purposes including the generation of electricity. London’s first anaerobic digester went online in 2014. It sells electricity to the national grid and produces heat for a nearby recycling plant. It also produces compost for agricultural use.

Combustion can also produce electricity.  However, burning trash emits greenhouse gases. Even if those are filtered and captured there’s still the matter of what to do with them. Recycling as much waste as possible and only incinerating what can’t be recycled seems to be the better solution. While incinerators might be cheaper, other technologies are friendlier to the environment.

When the politicians see that recycling is a better option they’ll be more motivated to encourage it in all of London’s boroughs. As it is, if they can generate electricity by burning trash, it seems that they don’t feel the need to incentivize residents to recycle. That isn’t to say that they aren’t making an effort to recycle. Some boroughs were well above the English average. However, the majority fell below. It’s this lack of uniformity that shows that more needs to be done to equalize access to recycling to all Londoners.

Older technology like incineration still has its place.  However, with all of the options available for London it should be the last choice and not used as a quick fix. All Londoners should have access to the same ability to recycle even if it can’t all be single stream. If anything denser populations in flats should have more access to cheap rubbish disposal and recycling services, not less. While the electricity generation from incineration might seem like a good thing on the surface, anaerobic digestion can do the same thing and it’s cleaner. The people of London are doing their part.  The politicians need to step up and do their part by making recycling more available to everyone. There are many waste removal companies that offer services at low cost and that can help reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills.