The independent London newspaper

The strangely static statistics of our borough’s rubbish

03 January, 2019

ONE of the great green mysteries in recent years is why Camden’s recycling record remains so consistently low?

In 2005, the council proudly announced it had achieved the highest recycling rate of all London boroughs.

But since those halcyon days, and despite a huge shift in the public perception of the environment, according to official tables, Camden’s statistical record has remained more of less exactly the same.

Its record of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting has hovered around 25 per cent mark for almost a generation.

While most other London boroughs have significantly upped their game, Camden has stagnated. It now has one of the lowest rates in the capital, and by extension, the country. Why?

Is this a question of political vision or leadership? Are long-term, inflexible contracts to blame? The contract with Veolia was, in 2017 given an eight-year extension, and was estimated by the company to be worth £338million.

Has there been poor communication to residents? Are they, in the main, apathetic or uninformed?

Dividing what we throw away – the plastics, uneaten food, the non-recyclables – is such a simple task.

But many simply cannot be bothered, or do not care. Some may feel suspicious whether waste destined for recycling is actually being recycled. Even Camden’s most admirable residents can be struck by a moral myopia.

Other boroughs, like Harrow, have imposed compulsory recycling on residents – a move that has seen their rates shoot-up.

The attempt to increase recycling rates by limiting the amount of waste residents could leave out on the kerbside was, perhaps, a desperate move.

But it did perhaps get residents thinking when they would otherwise have not.

What is certain is that with latest round of cuts from central government, Camden’s standing is likely to go down rather than up.


THE stain of our nation’s failure to eradicate homelessness can no longer be ignored.

This, of course, isjust one of many failures exposed by a government so caught up with the Brexit nightmare that it has neither time nor energy to deal with anything else.

Homeless street camps, tents and mattresses are routinely springing up in protected enclaves across Camden with all the attendant detritus to be expected.

2019 should be the year politicians get a grip on this modern-day travesty.

But will they?

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