The Mayor of London has set a target of 50% recycling of waste across all London Boroughs by 2020 while still maintaining affordable waste management solutions. A lofty goal, perhaps, but it’s one that is respectable and many believe achievable. To work towards this target the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and the UK government’s resource efficiency body, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is looking at joining forces to bring their combined resources together against the problem.
The main focus of the partnership is the Mayor’s 50% by 2020 goal, but as stepping stones, their aim is to achieve the following:
Promoting recycling and waste reduction as a means to limit the amount of waste that enters the management system. For waste that is inevitable, the partnership is working at increasing inefficiencies in the systems. On the other side, recycling programs are being looked at to ensure that boroughs are recycling effectively. This has the twofold goal of maximizing revenue generated from recycling programs and also increasing the amount of waste that is able to be recycled. It is realized that the Mayor of London’s goal can only be achieved by streamlining the current systems and offering incentives to promote these new efficiencies. The result should be an efficient and consistent waste management service available to all London boroughs.
The goal is proactive out of necessity. On average every seven weeks each person in the UK throws away their own body weight in trash. This means that across the entire UK, 100 million tonnes of waste are generated annually. With 8.5 million people currently living in London and an estimated population of 9 million by 2020, London has to deal with a lot of garbage. This new team-up unites resources to deal with a growing problem and it’s already paying off.
In February, LWARB awarded £1.2m in grants to 17 London boroughs to help finance projects for new or improved recycling facilities. These facilities are estimated to service over one million households and handle approximately 60,000 tonnes of waste in the first four years of their operation. This refuse would have otherwise been bound for landfill and incineration. Adding WRAP’s resources to these programs already in place will only increase their effectiveness and efficiency. Estimates put the value of the partnership at approximately £10 million per year savings by 2016.
Although London’s goal is lofty, the overall European goal is even more impressive. In July of 2014 the European Commission revealed changes to its Circular Economy Package. Under the new package, member states are allowed a maximum of 25% of waste generated to be sent to landfill by 2025 and a staggering 70% of municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste to be recycled by 2030. Considering those are the long term targets, London is on the right path to compliance.
To assist in these plans, local companies and individuals can make sure that their own waste disposal is being handled correctly. Danjo’s Skip Hire covers areas across; South East London, including; Banstead, Clapham, Kensington, Kingston, New Malden, Putney, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wimbledon, and can recover 90% of recyclable waste that they are provided with. With new programmes, government assistance and individual buy in, these goals move UK and Europe towards a more secure future both economically and environmentally.