Tuesday, June 9, 1998 Published at 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Put out your empties
The end of the trek to the bottle bank?
Islington Council is considering using former Big Issue sellers to run a pilot door-to-door waste recycling scheme in the borough, in a project which could set the tone for the rest of the country.
Householders would sort their recyclable waste into different containers which would be picked up from their kerbs with their normal rubbish collection.
If the pilot is extended, it would start in September, covering 5,000 of Islington's 78,000 households and employing two or three homeless people.
The scheme could be expanded to cover around half of the borough's homes within the year. Other parts of the country, including neighbouring borough Hackney, already run similar door-to-door schemes.
London Waste Action has contributed £50,000 of equipment towards the pilot. The London Planning Advisory Committee has set a target of recycling 40% of household waste by 2005. Some 80% of UK waste ends up in landfill sites at the moment.
An organization called Islington Waste Saver has been working there since November 1994, but it charges householders £1.50 a week to collect and recycle waste and has only managed to sign up around 500 households.
More recycling could bring further problems
John Eckers at Islington Friends of the Earth welcomed the initiative, but said that if the scheme is expanded past the pilot stage, "there is nowhere to store the waste".
Cormac Stokes, Islington's Recycling Projects Officer, admitted that the council was in a difficult position because it is in the inner city and space is at a premium.
He says the council is working with other North London boroughs and has consulted with Royal Recycling, a Canadian firm, to make the most of the space available.
In Britain, around 6.5% of waste is recycled, compared with as much as 40% in Switzerland.
Germany, Switzerland and Canada are among the countries who have already instituted variable charges for waste disposal.