Recycling on the rise in Merton flats


Merton residents are doing their bit to help the environment


By Holly Hamilton

As the world’s leaders gather with over 50,000 people in Copenhagen this week to discuss global environmental solutions Merton residents are also doing their bit to save the planet.

Merton Council have rolled out their new recycling scheme this month with existing bins provided to flats now able to take mixed recycling instead of having to be separated into different categories.

At the 15th United Nations Conference on Climate Change the focus will be on cutting CO2 emissions and in particular the way the western world can help developing countries achieve their targets.

But recycling is one of easiest ways people can feel they are making a difference on a day-to-day basis and there are high national targets for lowering the amount of waste going to landfill sites.

As reported by Merton Matters in October, those living in flats in Wimbledon had struggled with overflowing bins and were worried about the effect the litter was having on their surroundings.

The council hopes these new measures, which followed individual house boxes being made multi-use at the start of this year, will make it that bit easier for residents to recycle even more of their waste.

Council Director of Environment and Regeneration Chris Lee said: “This new service which we will be offering means that residents will have more flexibility and won’t have to worry about separating out their recycling. 

“They will also be able to spread more evenly the amount of recyclable materials between bins helping Merton to achieve a 33% recycling target.”  

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee’s Senior Recycling Officer Claire Howard added: “Local Authorities understand that recycling services need to be easy for residents to access and comprehend and work hard to provide these services, whilst ensuring that they are value for money and sustainable.”

Waste Watch, an environmental charity, carried out a survey last summer that showed that 84% of Merton residents actively recycle their household waste.

But mixed recycling is still relatively rare across the country due to the lack of processing capacity for mixed plastic material.

Despite the new measures, a league table of the latest figures available for waste recycling and composting rates shows Merton ranked at 291 out of 394 nation-wide boroughs recorded in 2007.

EU directives now require all member states to have legislation on recycling but there are no exact targets set and the UK does fall behind other countries on this score.

Denmark was chosen to host the UN conference because it is seen as one of the greenest countries in the world with extremely high recycling rates and only about 5% of its garbage ends up in landfills.

In comparison the UK sees 34% of waste end up at landfill sites and in the US the figure is as high as 54%.

At Christmas time one billion cards, eight million Christmas trees, 3,000 tonnes of foil for roasting turkeys and as much as 83 square kilometres of wrapping is thrown away each year in the UK.

Merton residents can do even more for the planet at this time of year by recycling all of their Christmas waste and residents are encouraged to call the council’s waste helpline on 020 8274 4902 for more information.

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