March 2005

City segment to increase recycling

London— The London Borough of Southwark is to receive £34.5 million to help the inner city borough smash their waste targets.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley allocated the cash for a private finance initiative project to upgrade the borough’s waste management services.

As well as upgrading facilities the money will be used to increase recycling and composting and to help cut waste production.

The 25-year project aims to significantly boost recycling and composting rates in the area to 30% by 2010; 40% by 2015: 45% by 2020 and 50% by the end of the contract. The project also aims to divert thousands of tons of waste away from landfill sites, eventually diverting 133,000 tons out of the 188,000 tons of waste that is expected to be produced in 2020.

Southwark plans to achieve this by launching innovative recycling collection schemes, education and awareness programs and through an expansion and improvement of existing collection schemes, chief of which is the collection of recyclables through “survival bags” from medium and high rise properties.

Waste minimization will be a fundamental part of the project, and throughout the duration of the project, Southwark intends to carry out a waste minimization campaign to encourage residents to produce less waste.

Elliot Morley welcomed the scheme and highlighted how the project could set an example to other inner city councils. “This ambitious project shows that with some determination inner cities can find solutions to help them meet the unique problems they face in modernizing their waste management services.

The funding will help the city to meet key national waste targets: to compost or recycle 25% of household waste by 2005/06 and to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste - such as textiles, paper, card, kitchen and garden waste - that is disposed to landfill. By 2010, biodegradable waste going to landfill must be 75% of the amount produced in 1995, reducing to 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020.

In 2003/04, residents in Southwark produced 134,714 tons and recycled just 7 percent of their waste. Southwark’s recycling rate currently stands at 11 percent.

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