Extinction Rebellion hands Camden a plan for better recycling

The demonstration was held as part of the '10:10' series on climate action. Picture: Extinction Rebe

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Camden demonstrators in 2020. - Credit: Archant

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have presented Camden Council with a list of actions they think the town hall can take immediately to improve its recycling.

Authored by Dr Rembrandt Koppelaar, an energy and sustainability expert, the action plan highlights where XR think the council can be more ambitious, and how it can recycle 70% of its waste by 2030.

Dr Koppelaar said he wants the borough and its neighbours to look to Wales - where recycling targets are mandatory - for inspiration. 

The XR action plan calls on the town hall to map waste and recycling levels, expand business recycling support, and work with its partners.

Dr Rembrandt Koppelaar, co-founder of XR Zero Waste.

Dr Rembrandt Koppelaar, co-founder of XR Zero Waste. - Credit: Tamara Micner

Dr Koppelaar added: "If you look at the ambitions of the councils it's 2% or 3%. There's this mismatch between the vision and the actions. The record is not so good on recycling rates. This is similar across north London. 


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"There's often a lot of focus on households. We want to see restaurants given more help, for example. What do they do if they want to recycle more food waste?" 

Dr Koppelaar said he feels Camden's recycling rate is "seriously lagging".

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The latest data, for the 2018/19, showed a recycling rate 24%. According to the government's climate change committee, the UK should have been targeting 50% recycling by 2020.

Dr Koppelaar, who co-founded XR's Zero Waste campaign, said this had been "missed by a wide margin”, but added: “But as we demonstrate in the action plan for Camden Council, turning things around is doable.

"It just requires the council to commit to meeting more ambitious waste management goals, which would actually save Camden’s residents money."

The brief is a direct response to the words of Clyde Loakes, chair of the North London Waste Authority, who last year called on XR to work with boroughs to improve recycling rates. XR has consistently opposed the plans for a new north London incinerator.

Camden's environment chief, Cllr Adam Harrison, said: “This action plan highlights how both the council and Extinction Rebellion are positively aligned on the important issue of decreasing waste whilst improving recycling levels in the borough."

He added that "a broad range" of the points in the action plan, were part of the council's current work, and added that if the town hall's recycling services were fully utilised they would "would enable a majority of Camden’s household waste to be recycled".

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