Political Promise

Picking Up After Ourselves

In David Brownsey-Joyce on September 6, 2010 at 10:24 am

Coming back from a ‘mini break’ David Brownsey-Joyce was horrified to rubbish strewn across his street. What did he do about it?

I had a little mini break over the bank holiday weekend, just to recharge the batteries. I came back to London to find my street currently being resurfaced by Camden and Islington Councils, and a growing collection of waste.

I received notification letters from both Camden and Islington Councils of the resurfacing work for my road prior to work beginning and as someone who doesn’t have to drive it didn’t really effect me, until I got back after the bank holiday. I feel lucky living in the London Borough of Camden as I get two rubbish pickups a week and a recycling pickup.

This is essential as Camden has a very high rate of multiple occupancy properties and flats, the majority of these provide few facilities for refuse and recycling; so it is essential to get these pickups on a regular basis. During last week we did not, probably due to roadworks being carried out by both Camden and Islington Councils, basically the bin men couldn’t get to us hopefully this week they will.

So for the last week I have done my best to be a good little tree hugger and do my part for the planet by sorting out my waste and really looking in detail at what I could recycle and where. What I found was that it was easier than I thought it would be.

There are incredible recycling facilities available to the communities in the London Borough of Camden, there are communal recycling bins all over the borough, collecting paper, card, glass, household plastics and for the more specialist items a recycling centre in Kentish Town.

Added to this Camden Council has rolled out a food recycling service across the borough in an effort to reduce landfill rates further, at present 33% of all landfill that comes out of London Borough of Camden is food waste, the aim of the service is to raise Camden’s recycling rate higher than it’s current 29.75%, to hit a target of 45% by 2015. If a third of all landfill is unused food then recycling it would go a long way to reach this target. This would be in line with a national target of half of all household waste in the UK going to recycling rather than landfill by 2020.

The question then becomes how many local authorities in the country are on course to make such an ambitious target? Local authorities need to share ideas, discover what works and abandon what doesn’t. We are all in this together and what might work for one authority might not for another.

If local authorities are going to make good on their commitment to recycling then they need to make it easier for the lazy people out there, I include myself in this, who find it a chore just to put out the rubbish, let alone sort it into landfill and recycling. The authorities and the residents need to change their mindset, so that it doesn’t stay just a chore but rather recycling becomes a lifestyle. That every community has its own recycling facilities and these take as much as possible, and certainly at the least the bin men can get to them.

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