H&F has one of the worst recycle rates in the UK with rates virtually unchanged over the last 5 years at 23.2%. In the “waste action strategy for LBHF, 2017-2020” H&F set a target of increasing the household recycling rate by 2% per annum from the 2015/16 rate of 22% to 30% by 2020. Hardly an ambitious plan given the low base level, yet the council still failed even in the first year to achieve this target, with the recycling rate only increasing by 1.2% in 2016/2017.
As well as being bad for the environment, this is costing H&F financially. The cost of disposing recycled waste is considerably lower than that of residual waste, LBHF figures suggest that a 1% shift in tonnage to recycling saves approximately £69k per annum.
In the neighbouring borough of Ealing, the recycling rates already exceed 50%. Differences in recycling rates in part are explained by differing levels of house density and social economic factors, the other factors relate to political leadership, communication and the recycle services offered.
Ealing offers far more comprehensive services both in the public realm and for households. Unlike Ealing, LBHF does not offer food waste recycling services or garden waste recycling services. Increasing the number of homes that receive a separate food waste collection service has been a key driver in increasing recycling rates and waste removal costs in Ealing. Ealing reportedly saves between £1.7 and £2.3 million a year by transferring dry recyclable and food waste recycling out of residual waste.
“By making it even easier for local people to recycle, we have met our ambitious target of recycling 50% of household waste, a year ahead of schedule." - Councillor Bassam Mahfouz.
In the northern part of our borough residents regularly mention that they need to drive to the recycling plant in Wandsworth, a considerable distance away when there is a nearby recycling plant in Acton that they currently cannot use. Enabling residents to access the Acton plant is just one example that would make it easier for residents to recycle. More recycling bins in the public realm as in Ealing is another simple example.