London waste to landfill

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 26th February 2021.

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Photo of Susan Hall Susan Hall Conservative

As referenced in your 2018 press release “Mayor’s £6m fund to boost green spaces & reduce plastic waste”, are you on track to meet your ambition for London to send no biodegradable or recyclable waste to landfill by 2026?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

In 2018/19, only 7% of London’s waste was sent to landfill, down from 13% in 2016/7. The proportion of waste sent to landfill in London is lower than the average for England (11% in 2018/9, down from 16% in 2016/7).

In order to support my ambition for London to send no biodegradable or recyclable waste to landfill by 2026, my London Environment Strategy sets out minimum standards for recycling that boroughs need to meet, so that the 6 main dry recycling materials plus food waste can be recycled wherever you live in London. All boroughs have produced a Reduction and Recycling Plan to set out how they will not only meet but go beyond these minimum standards and contribute to my London-wide targets. Twenty nine boroughs now meet the minimum standards for dry recycling, and twenty four provide separate food waste collections. Where boroughs are not already meeting my minimum service level my officers have worked with them to set out in their RRPs and contract procurement documents a commitment and clear road map of how and when they will do so.

Achieving this ambition will also require improvement in recycling from businesses. I have no powers to direct businesses to deliver my strategy but if the RRPs are implemented the number of boroughs providing commercial waste recycling services will increase from 29 to 31. This includes 18 boroughs looking to grow their commercial waste service offering. Additionally, through the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), I am supporting boroughs in developing their commercial waste services by offering individual support and service reviews and establishing a commercial waste forum for the exchange of knowledge and good practice. LWARB are also developing support for commercial food waste services within boroughs and launching a commercial waste section of the London Recycles website.

However, we still need government to provide more support. I estimate that London requires a minimum of £100m of investment in local recycling services to reach my targets and have requested this money from the UK Government. The upcoming budget will be an opportunity for the Government to provide its fair share of funding for investment in local authority services to drive up recycling performance.