Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

London mayor outlines plans to boost recycling

Boris Johnson
London has the worst recycling rates in England

London Mayor Boris Johnson has outlined plans to cut the amount of rubbish going to landfill sites.

Better recycling facilities for people who live in flats, and support for new projects to make energy from rubbish, are among proposals.

Mr Johnson's draft waste strategy aims to divert all London's waste away from landfill by 2025, which it says could save London £90m a year.

The capital has the worst recycling rates in England, at 29%.

'Economic potential'

The city's recycling rate is also worse than other major world cities such as Berlin, New York and Sydney.

I want to work with borough councils to harvest the massive economic potential coming from London's waste
London Mayor Boris Johnson

Londoners generate four million tonnes of rubbish - from their homes, small businesses and on the streets - which costs £600m a year to deal with.

The mayor's strategy outlines ways he plans to work with boroughs to clean the streets, cut packaging and boost the amount of goods which are reused or repaired.

The strategy sets targets for boosting recycling to 45% of waste by 2015 and 60% by 2031.

Recycling opportunities

Mr Johnson said he planned to work with businesses and manufacturers in a bid to drive down the amount of waste generated in the first place from packaging.

He also said: "I want to work with borough councils to harvest the massive economic potential coming from London's waste, both to save money off the city's bills and to improve our environment."

"We must also seek to unblock the remaining barriers to recycling making it easier to take this option rather than simply chuck unwanted stuff in the bin, for example providing better collection facilities in flats and multi-occupancy dwellings."

Government figures reveal there is a huge discrepancy between the amount of rubbish each London borough recycles.

Bexley Council recycles half of all its rubbish, while Newham Council recycles just 15%, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) 2008/2009 figures.

The Green Party's Darren Johnson said: "We know that all Londoners want to recycle as much as they can, but your opportunities to recycle now depends on what borough you live in.

"The mayor can't leave the boroughs to do their own thing.

"Londoners in Newham should have as much chance to do something for their environment as Londoners in Bexley."

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