Recycling Still the Best Option - 7 January 2009

Recycling is still the best environmental and economic option for residents in the Western Riverside Waste Authority area which covers the London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth and Wandsworth and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The Authority's Chairman, Councillor Tim Coleridge, has said:

"The collection of material for recycling will always reduce the amount of waste that we have to send to landfill. Thanks to residents' efforts the amount we recycle has increased significantly year on year and it is vital that we do not let up on this positive action for the environment. No one wants to see a return to the bad old days of waste being dumped in a thoughtless fashion. Our message is that recycling remains a cost effective and vital element in modern waste management and we urge residents to carry on recycling."

Not only is recycling more environmentally friendly than disposing of waste to landfill it is cheaper too. Every tonne of waste that is recycled instead of being sent to landfill represents a saving to the Authority of around £21. This means a reduction in cost of about 11 pence for every Orange sack that is recycled.

Despite claims in the national media that recycled waste is being stockpiled or dumped in landfill sites, Western Riverside Waste Authority has an upbeat message for the local community. "Orange Bag" materials collected by its constituent councils are still being recycled and put to beneficial use. In fact this situation seems to be true nationally as the Environment Agency has said that there has not been any significant increase in the number of registrations that allow storage of recyclables.

Residents in the Western Riverside Waste Authority area can be assured their recyclables continue to be collected, recycled and reprocessed as normal. The Authority's sub-contractor, Viridor Waste Management Limited, has this week confirmed that, although commodity prices have fallen, its well established marketing strategy means that material is still being traded and stock building has not been necessary nor is it planned. Materials continue therefore to be recycled within the UK, the EU and the Far East.

Other recent national media reports have also claimed that recyclables from schemes such as the Authority's are rejected once they get to the treatment facilities (known commonly as MRFs) but again this is not true for the Authority's area. Only a very small tonnage of prohibited material (around 1%) is not recycled. This is material that has either been mistakenly put into the orange bags by residents, or has been contaminated, usually by foodstuffs.