Southwark recycling

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Sunday 19 June 2005 10.56am
I've been meaning to praise Southwark council for a while on the new recycling bins, which take tin cans, aluminium foil and plastic bottles too.

There is a list of exclusions which I can never quite remember, so I expect I get it wrong sometimes, but I'm puzzled why it's plastic bottles only.

Margarine tubs and other bits of plastic packing often have the little recycling sign on, so why are they not wanted?

Sunday 19 June 2005 11.45am
I emailed the very helpful recycling people with a very similar question, and the answer is that there are many different types of plastic, which can often be recycled, but separately. The items must be sorted, which is the difficult part, and this is only really viable for plastic bottles at the moment.
Tuesday 21 June 2005 10.08am
I'm baffled to hear people praising Southwark's recycling services. I've lived in Elephant a few months now and found the collections are awful.

Not only do you have to separate your papers from everything else, but the collections are fortnightly instead of weekly - and every single fortnight we have put our bags and box out and every fortnight it has gone uncollected until my flatmates have phoned and emailed the council.

In Wandsworth absolutely every recyclable can go into one single orange sack which is collected weekly on the same day as the regular waste collection. That way the council has been consistently hitting recycling targets that most other boroughs are nowhere near (although Wandsworth will struggle to hit the 24% target this year).

At the very least, changing to weekly collections is essential, because having rubbish piling up in your house for two weeks is a real disincentive to recycling, and means a lot of stuff goes in the regular bin when it shouldn't.

Tuesday 21 June 2005 10.42am
I think praising Southwark at recycling is very much in the context of the shambles we used to have here. Compared to only a few short years ago we are living in enlightened recycling times.

However we are talking about an improvement from a disgraceful 3.6% recycling rate to a terrible 11% recycling rate (which is what I think Southwark is at now).

Compared to any reasonable place Southwark's current record is woeful and pretty shambolic but at least they are moving in the right direction and having made fairly easy improvements to date (you really can't do worse than 3.6%) here's hoping they really shift up a gear and get to reasonable levels soon.
Tuesday 21 June 2005 10.55am
I agree, Gavin.

I get so frustrated at Southwark's preposterous claims that they are at the vanguard of providing recycling facilities.

My local recycling point, Tooley Street, recently lost its clothes/shoes recycling bin. No warning... just disappeared (this despite their website telling us that clothes recycling facilities are available there). Eventually, I managed to recycle old children's clothes across the pond in Wapping.

Since they have sub-contracted the operation of the recycling facilities, the emptying of the recycling bins occurs infrequently. Many times I have carted bags of bottles and newspapers to find the bins overlowing, and bags of old beers bottles smashed around the sides... hardly an encouragement for people to make the effort to recycle.

As for their "green-bins" - they are not available to residents of flats! even if the flat has a communal storage area for palladins (normal waste) on the ground floor.

In many European countries, it is a legal requirement that households maintain separate bins for glass, plastic, paper and general waste, which is collected by the authorities on specific days. But not in "rich", "prosperous" London it seems.

Finally, does anybody know where you can donate old prams, cots, etc. It seems that Oxfam and many other charity shops can no longer accept prams and so on because of fear of being sued for selling faulty/dangerous goods.
Tuesday 21 June 2005 11.05am
Also they were quick and efficient when we asked for recycling facilities to be put into the jam factory - it was just the jam factory management that slowed it up, as Southwark council came and looked at the site within a week of my emailing them.
Tuesday 21 June 2005 12.11pm
Martin, for your disused but useable childrens' equipment, and everything else for that matter, try Freecycle, mentioned here before:
http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/2/31534
Jac
Tuesday 21 June 2005 12.14pm
I think they are going in the right direction. Over a few years I have sent emails to southwark as I got fed up with them saying they collected from all street properties when they didn't from mine. Finally after two home visits the first of which say I was unsuitable I have finally been given box and bag and they said lets give it a try but it would have to stop if my box kept getting nicked or people complained. So far I have had 4 weekly collections with no problems and the box is put back neatly by my front door, although the first box left on the door step did go missing before I recieved it. So at the momemnt I am very happy with them. The lady who came on the second visit also explained that they did hope to go along the lines of just seperating the recyclable from non recyclables as apose to keeping everything seperate but that required a large sorting depot that they do not have although they hope to have in the future, I beleive they are planning this on a site down the old kent road.
Tuesday 21 June 2005 12.24pm
Gavin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm baffled to hear people praising Southwark's
> recycling services. I've lived in Elephant a few
> months now and found the collections are awful.

[LR originally wrote]
I think the duration of some current waste disposal contracts that Southwark is tied to has something to do with the SELHCP incinerator (sorry, "energy recovery facility") next to the New Den.

[Edited to add: LR then remembers that...]
Southwark only sends about 25% of its waste to SELHCP - the rest goes to landfill . It seems the reason for their odd mix of recycling contracts is that they are all short term until the new
"Resource Park"
- candidate for the best ever local government euphemism (!!!) - is built on the OId Kent Road

> In Wandsworth absolutely every recyclable can go
> into one single orange sack which is collected
> weekly on the same day as the regular waste
> collection.

All the boroughs in Western Riverside Waste Authority (Lambeth, Southwark, Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham) have bought into a contract where all their recycling is sent downriver to an enormous Heath Robinson like "waste recovery plant" which separates cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and paper with minimal labour.

> At the very least, changing to weekly collections
> is essential, because having rubbish piling up in
> your house for two weeks is a real disincentive to
> recycling, and means a lot of stuff goes in the
> regular bin when it shouldn't.

That's the problem when you trial a scheme in Dulwich where they all have garages/utility rooms to store the boxes in.






Edited 2 times. Last edit at 21 June 2005 12.44pm by Lang Rabbie.
Tuesday 21 June 2005 12.50pm
Thanks for the tip (if you pardon the pun) about Freecycle.

Regarding waste-recovery-plants, sorting facilities and the like... I read recently that this (yep, even this) is being outsourced to China.
Container-ships full of Chinese-manufactured goods, which arrive at UK docks for distribution, usually go back to China empty (or with vastly reduced cargo).

Recently, the container-ships have been returning to China filled with UK household waste. The waste is stored on The Ship unsorted, and when it arrives in China it is hand-sorted by extremely cheap labour. Whatever can be recycled is then redistributed, etc. I think Bangladesh also receives such waste.

Now, how does the Youssou N'Dour song "Toxiques" go?



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 21 June 2005 12.51pm by Martin Underwood.
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