12 January 2010

Recycling in Southwark: A summary

Speaking to people when we're out and about in Peckham Rye, there does seem to be some confusion about how well Southwark is performing on recycling. Tory and Lib Dem canvassers seem eager to muddy the waters on this important issue. What follows is a quick summary of the facts and our own position on recycling.

In November 2009, the latest official league tables for recycling rates in England were published. Incredibly, the figures reveal that Southwark council has become the 6th worst council in the country for recycling. Southwark recycles less than 21% of household waste and the Lib Dems and Tories couldn't even manage a 1% increase in the recycling rate over last year.

When they took charge of Southwark in 2002, the Lib Dems and Tories promised to increase the borough’s recycling rate to 30% by 2010. Not only have they failed to meet that promise but, when compared to the rest of the country, they have dramatically moved backwards. Recycling rates in neighbouring Labour Lambeth have doubled in recent years. In Labour-run Greenwich prioritising recycling has boosted rates to 42% and has provided a service that is regularly rated the best in London.

We know how much effort local residents put into recycling, and we believe that Southwark's unnecessary restrictions on what can be recycled should be changed. Southwark doesn't recycle collected food waste, Tetra Pak cartons or plastic bags, and only some residents have access to kerbside recycling for the plastics used in yoghurt pots and margarine tubs.

We believe that recycling, re-using and reducing the resources we use are a crucial part of the battle against climate change and are vital if we are to protect our environment for the benefit of future generations. People have a right to expect leadership from their local authority on this issue and right now we are not getting it. Southwark Labour is committed to increasing the range of materials recycled in our borough.

It’s time to make recycling a priority in Souhwark and the only way to achieve this is for us to have a change of leadership in the town hall.

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