FIGURES released by DEFRA show that four south London boroughs have risen up the capital’s recycling performance table.
The four boroughs, Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton, make up London’s first joint environmental services procurement, through the South London Waste Partnership.
The latest DEFRA figures reveal that 46% of household waste was recycled across the four boroughs between April 2018 – March 2019; three percentage points higher than the previous year (17/18) and seven percentage points higher than the year before that (16/17).
The recycling rate for the four regions now compares very favourably against the London-wide average of 33%
The catalyst for this significant improvement in recycling performance has been a new, harmonised, recycling and rubbish collection service.
Veolia was awarded the waste management contract for the SLWP in 2017.
Pascal Hauret, Regional Director for Veolia, said: “Following a period of transition, the environmental solution we carefully designed for our collection service across the four boroughs of the South London Waste Partnership is delivering recycling rates we can all be proud of.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure our service delivery remains financially, socially and environmentally viable for our municipal customers.”
The aim of the partnership contract was to align waste collection services and increase recycling rates, so that all four Local Authorities could achieve environmental improvements and significant financial savings.
Veolia developed a new collection service and introduced the changes in 2017 for Sutton, 2018 for Croydon and Merton, and 2019 for Kingston.
The changes needed have varied across the boroughs but have included introducing weekly food waste collections, restricting capacity for general waste, and increasing recycling capacity.
Collection rounds have been modified for greater efficiency and doorstep collections of textiles, batteries and small electrical items have been added.
Annie Baker, Strategic Partnership Manager, The South London Waste Partnership, said: “The latest DEFRA figures are impressive enough, but improvements in our recycling rates have continued throughout 2019.
“Today, all four SLWP boroughs are either just above or knocking on the door of a 50% recycling rate, making us some of the best recyclers in London.
“We have rolled-out a harmonised collection service to one million Londoners.
“Of course, service change on that scale is hugely challenging and there have been some bumps in the road.
“I would like to thank residents for their support whilst the new services bedded in as well as all our colleagues in Veolia and in the boroughs who have worked hard to roll-out these new services.
“There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us, but satisfaction with the collection service is on the rise and the new, improved recycling rate speaks for itself.”