Camden’s recycling rate has fallen to 25% in the last three months, according to new statistics released by the council this month: meaning thousands of tonnes of extra waste every year to burn or bury.
In 2010, the year Labour took control of Camden Council, Camden’s recycling rate was 32%. If Camden’s recycling rate had remained as it was in 2010, it would have meant 3,700 tonnes less waste being burned and 500 tonnes less being buried in landfill.
But that was when my Conservative Hampstead Town predecessors Cllr Mike Greene and Chris Knight were in charge of recycling, and it’s a different story with Labour at the helm.
Camden is introducing a new waste contract cutting residents’ bin collections to once a fortnight and charging them for garden waste from April 2017. I’ve criticised Labour for jumping to cutting services instead of stopping the falling recycling rate under Labour’s rule.
Camden seemingly has no plans to stem the falling recycling rates except by cutting residents’ bin collections to the bone. Other councils have been able to raise recycling rates without punishing residents, and there’s no reason Camden can’t.
I’ve asked repeatedly for an explanation as to why the recycling rate keeps falling. So far, none has been forthcoming.
The UK has a target of recycling 50% of its waste by 2020. Although the UK as a whole – which recycles 45% of its waste – is likely to hit this target, Camden is set to be one of the worst-performers in western Europe.
Labour is cutting collections for up to half the borough, claiming this will boost recycling. But if services are being cut in the place with the highest recycling rates, as is likely, it won’t improve recycling at all.
Labour has already accept their Garden Tax – charging people to collect green waste – will reduce recycling rates, and they should accept their other plans won’t work, either.
Why is it that Labour’s response to its falling recycling rate is to punish residents, rather than investigating their own failings?
For more about my campaign to restore weekly bin collections, click here.