The Mayor’s London Environment Strategy has set a target for 50% of local authority collected waste in London to be recycled by 2030, in order to help reach an overall 65% municipal target.
This sets local authorities in London a lower rate than the 60% target for 2030 adopted by the European Council last month, which looks likely to be adopted within UK legislation at a later date.
However, the strategy, which was published at the end of May 2018, sets an overall target for 2030 of 65% municipal recycling rate for London – this includes waste collected from households as well as some business waste.
Incineration is also a focus of the document which states that the Mayor “does not want any new Energy from Waste plants in London”.
According to the strategy, incineration of London’s local authority collected waste has doubled from 900,000 tonnes in 2011, to 2 million tonnes in 2016.
“Modelling suggests that if London achieves the reduction and recycling targets set out in this strategy, it will have sufficient EFW capacity to manage London’s non-recyclable municipal waste, once the new Edmonton and Beddington Lane facilities are operational,” the document states.
“The Mayor expects all of London’s EfW facilities to only manage truly non-recyclable waste, and maximise the use of both the heat and power generated.”
According to the document, Environment Agency data estimates, that 41% of London’s municipal waste was recycled or composted in 2016/17. This is “significantly lower” than the previously estimated 52% recycling rate, it says.
Around 54% of waste was sent to landfill or incineration. The remaining five per cent was managed through other sorting and treatment methods, the document reveals.
Other targets outlined in the strategy include cutting food waste by 20% by 2025 and 50% by 2030; using fewer and cleaner lorries to transport waste; and, no biodegradable or recyclable waste sent to landfill by 2026.
To help meet the 65% target by 2030, the Mayor expects local authorities to offer collections for the six main dry recycling materials as well as separate food waste collections.
The Mayor encourages local authorities to consider interventions such as reduced collections of residual waste, through bin sizes or frequency, to deliver cost savings and recycling improvements.
The document also calls for more shared revenue contracts from the sale of recyclables to be developed, and challenges the waste industry to “collaborate” on identifying the best opportunities to increase recycling capacity.
Responding to the publication of the London Environment Strategy, ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “As anyone who lives in London knows, the city faces a major challenge in tackling the huge amount of food waste produced by millions of homes and businesses every day.
“We are therefore pleased to see Sadiq Khan endorsing separate food waste collections across the capital to allow anaerobic digestion to recycle London’s inedible food waste into renewable heat and power, clean transport fuel, and nutrient-rich biofertiliser.
“What is now needed for this to happen is a commitment from government to roll out separate food waste collections across the whole of England to emulate the example set by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We’ll be looking for such a commitment in the forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy, particularly given that the UK is set to adopt the European Union’s new legislation obliging separate biowaste collections by December 2023.”