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Revealed: Where your recycled waste goes

PUBLISHED: 15:16 13 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 September 2010

A bin full of newspapers

A bin full of newspapers

FURIOUS traders are calling for environment bosses to clean up their act and stop burning paper waste that could be recycled. Shop owners have spoken out in anger at the council s waste collection service, which they say makes the streets dirty, harms th

FURIOUS traders are calling for environment bosses to clean up their act and stop burning paper waste that could be recycled.

Shop owners have spoken out in anger at the council's waste collection service, which they say makes the streets dirty, harms the environment and hits them in the pocket.

Westminster collected 110,000 tonnes of commercial waste last year, of which only 3,000 tonnes - less than three per cent - was recycled.

And despite spending £32million on its refuse collection programme, it also ranked in the bottom five London councils for recycling household waste.

Basil Minashi, who has owned electrical shop Rightway Electronics in Edgware Road for 22 years, said he takes his paper rubbish all the way to Wembley so it can be recycled.

He said: "The problem is that shops, which generate a lot of paper waste and cardboard boxes, are forced to pay the council quite big sums to take away rubbish even though it doesn't get recycled.

"There is no compromise with the council - it will not get rid of the rubbish without charges but there are no recycling bins in the high street for businesses to use.

"The streets in the area are littered with rubbish day in, day out - it's not a sensible way to do things. If the council won't do it, they should let somebody private come in to do it."

Imelda Burke, who manages organic beauty shop Content Beauty/Wellbeing in Marylebone Lane, contacted the council to find out how to start recycling her large numbers of cardboard boxes. But she was told the recycling service was "overloaded" and was advised to contact a private company.

"When you walk up the high street past furniture and bedding shops there's a huge number of cardboard boxes not being recycled. It's criminal," she said. "The council bandies around so much information about recycling, but even though you're actually paying for the service, they're not recycling the waste."

She has now turned to private recycling company First Mile and the company's chief executive, Bruce Batley, said many local businesses doing the same.

"Westminster incinerates the vast majority of its waste and particularly for larger businesses with large amounts of waste, the council offers a very limited service," he said. "Many businesses opt for us because we recycle between 70 and 80 per cent of the waste we collect but we're still cheaper than the council."

Nadine Grieve, a spokeswoman for West London environmentalist group We Can, said public recycling bins should be available at the very least.

"When we have so little time left to stop runaway global warming, it's regrettable that a council does not recycle everything it can, particularly when businesses are asking for it. If such a wealthy council can't clean up for itself how can we expect others to?"

But environment boss Cllr Danny Chalkley said recycling business waste is challenging due to competition from private operators.

"Until there is a level playing field with an equal duty on both private operators and local authorities to increase recycling and reduce landfill, it will continue to be a very difficult environment to operate in," he said. "Sadly, the chances of our services being undercut are high."

He added that Westminster also faces challenges in recycling household waste due to the high numbers of residents living in flats.

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