Lambeth Council’s recycling measures fail to crackdown on persistent evaders


An FOI request shows little action has been taken since 2011.


By Rachel Mountain

Over two years after Lambeth Council publicised new recycling measures, an FOI request revealed no substantial action to improve resident’s waste management was ever taken.

Information from the council’s official website advises that since 4th April 2011 every Lambeth resident must recycle their rubbish.

Failure to do so would result in receiving a letter or a visit from a waste support officer, with persistent offenders facing fines of up to £1,000.

In response to an FOI request, an unnamed Waste Strategy Manager said: “I can confirm that no letters have been issued to residents considered to be persistent non-recyclers and no visits have been made in this respect either.

“This is primarily due to a reduction in staff as part of a reorganisation.”

The council communication also revealed that in the early stages of the Waste Strategy Policy, implemented in 2011, some warning cards were sent to residents but they have no record of how many.

The procedure of issuing warning cards was abandoned shortly after its inception and to this date Lambeth’s recycling rates remain below the London average.

A letter to residents advising them of the measures, sent on February 25th 2011, cost £17,276.45 for quantifiable sums such as printing and postage and an unknown cost of man hours.

The council confirmed there was no new or additional cost to the taxpayer for this campaign and the funding came from service efficiencies made in the previous year.

Over two years later, the council announced the Cleaner Streets Campaign, part of which is focused on recycling.

“We want to get our town centres looking cleaner, cut waste, boost recycling, save money and maintain the borough’s excellent rubbish collection services,” said Cllr Imogen Walker, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability.

“An essential part of this review is asking Lambeth residents to do their bit, as without their support this just won’t work.

“We really need people to get on board and think about what they throw away, consider how they can cut their waste and recycle as much as possible.”

Lambeth residents in private homes put around 9,500 tonnes of recyclable material into the wrong bins each year.

If no action is taken to encourage recycling among residents it is predicted that the budget for waste disposal in the borough will rise from £17.7million in 2013/14 to £21.4million over the next three years.

For more information about Lambeth Council’s Cleaner and Greener Streets campaign visit

Photo courtesy of LeoReynolds, with thanks.

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