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Report reveals only 27 per cent of Camden's food waste is recycled

PUBLISHED: 16:06 17 July 2007 | UPDATED: 14:35 07 September 2010

B y Marc Mullen GREEN gurus fear Camden Council could be wasting more energy recycling than it is saving. In a report on waste and recycling, the sustainability task force – set up last year – has called on the council to make sure its recycling scheme be

B y Marc Mullen

GREEN gurus fear Camden Council could be wasting more energy recycling than it is saving.

In a report on waste and recycling, the sustainability task force - set up last year - has called on the council to make sure its recycling scheme benefits the environment.

The team, which includes members of all four parties at the town hall, wants the council to carry out a full audit of its recycling policy.

The report raises specific concerns over the 'co-mingling' of waste, where all recyclable goods are put in one box for collection and separated later.

Lib Dem Cllr Alexis Rowell, chairman of the task force, said: "I am not convinced that what we are doing is the most environmentally friendly option.

"They brought in co-mingling to increase the tonnage, which we should not compromise, but is that the best way to recycle?"

Green Party Cllr Maya de Souza, who sits on the task force, said: "We would like to find out the answers. We could be using more energy recycling than we are saving.

"Potentially the report is asking for quite dramatic changes to our policy and we need to be confident we are doing the right thing."

The task force also wants Camden to address the problem of food waste.

Only 27 per cent of food waste is currently recycled in Camden, and the government has set a target of 40 per cent by 2010.

The report proposes three pilot schemes of a 'rocket' composting machine - one for a major food business, one on a housing estate and one at a school, to be used by the houses in the immediate vicinity.

The task force also wants the council to have powers to force businesses which use too much packaging to help address the problem.

Tory Cllr Chris Knight, who also sits on the task force, visited the glass recycling unit in Greenwich, used by the council's subcontractor Veolia.

He said: "I was really surprised by the poor quality of stuff that comes out the other end. It all ends up as aggregate.

"White glass is worth money, but it keeps being contaminated by green and brown glass. Residents can use the on-street recycling bins to keep it separate."

The task force has produced the first draft of the report, which has gone to council officers for their comment.

Once the officers have made their recommendations councillors will vote on the proposals in October.

Cllr Rowell said: "I think we need to reframe our policy, and if we do it needs to be done once and done clearly for residents.

"Of course recycling is far less important than avoiding the creation of waste in the first place."

marc.mullen@hamhigh.co.uk


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