Lewisham residents need to “step up their game” and get back to the “basics of recycling”, the deputy chairman of the environment committee has said.
Darren Johnson, who is also Green councillor for Lewisham, has told East London Lines that the borough has a long-standing problem with household waste, as a new report puts it as the worst borough in London in terms of recycling.
The “carrots and sticks” report by the London assembly’s environment committee was released today. It shows that London has the lowest recycling rate in the country.
The rate is very mixed across the boroughs with Bexley topping the list with a rate of 50%, while Lewisham comes bottom with only 17% of household waste being recycled.
The report comes as Lambeth residents became the first in London this week to be offered recycling rewards, generally in the form of vouchers. The report looked into whether incentive schemes and fines have had any impact on recycling.
Darren Johnson said that in the case of Barnet, which introduced a £1,000 fine if residents failed to recycle, the scheme had a knock-on effect that really helps boost recycling habits.
However, he was concerned as to over whether these schemes can be sustained over a longer period of time before recycling rates dipped down again.
Mr Johnson’s main issue, however, is the amount of waste produced in the first place.
He said there was a danger that incentive schemes can push residents to increase their waste to get more rewards, as was the case with Windsor and Maidenhead.
In the case of Lewisham, the problem with waste lies deeper.
The London Assembly Members are due to question Mayor Boris Johnson on Wednesday on the long-term benefits of recycling benefit schemes.