The capital is rubbish at recycling its food waste, a report by the London Assembly Environment Committee has found.
The report, ‘Bag it or bin it? Managing London’s domestic food waste’ (pdf) found that of London's 33 boroughs, just 23 offer separate food waste collections, while 16 don't offer collections for blocks of flats. Unsurprisingly, the main reason for this is financial. Local authorities have basically had to make choices between environmental concerns and cutting costs, but the report says separate collections need not be more expensive if they're done effectively.
Chair of the Environment Committee, Stephen Knight AM, said;
“At 34%, the capital has one of the lowest household recycling rates in England and rates for inner London are even lower, at just 16%. When we take a closer look at how London’s boroughs are performing we are seeing a concerning lack of consistency, with 10 boroughs still not collecting any household food waste at all."
There are a growing number of schemes tackling food waste from supermarkets, like FoodCycle, who reclaim food destined to be thrown away by supermarkets and cook meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. But the Environment Committee wants local authorities to work better with residents to improve London's recycling credentials.
The Committee's 11 recommendations include:
- London boroughs to allocate resources for separate food waste collections for all properties.
- Improvements in data collection on food waste to meet demand.
- Extra funding from City Hall and the government, as well as devolution of landfill tax to London.
- Schemes to boost resident participation in food waste recycling.
- Include provision for waste separation and minimisation in new developments.