Hackney Council have been slammed by the Daily Mail as ‘race spies’ over a study conducted last year to investigate the recycling habits of different social groups in the borough.
The report, called a ‘Waste Composition Analysis,’ was part of a national effort by local authorities, in which samples of domestic rubbish were analysed and correlated with various social types.
Its findings showed that some neighbourhoods in the borough were achieving very good rates of recycling, but that other areas fell short of the 60% of any given material identified as a ‘good capture rate.’
Elderly householders were found to have slightly better rates of food waste composting than their younger counterparts.
The Hackney study was part of a series of studies, described by the Daily Mail as ‘covert bin-rifling operations,’ aimed to gather information about the levels of recycling among different kinds of residents across the country.
According to the report itself, “The aim of this piece of work was to provide the Hackney Council waste and recycling team with information on the success of the recycling schemes offered to households in low level housing and flatted accommodation.”
The Hackney analyses were produced by WastesWork Ltd, an independent company that ‘specialises in waste analysis projects for local authority and private waste management clients.’
According to the Mail: “Researchers targeted homes based on their potential ethnic and social mix, collecting data separately on four different groups, including ‘multi-ethnic private flats’ and ‘prosperous young professionals’ flats.”
In response to the paper’s critical report, a Hackney Council spokesperson said: “Every local authority performs waste composition analysis.”
“The aim of the survey conducted in 2009, in four sample area, was to assess the impact of recent recycling service improvements, and to assess the impact of community involvement in recycling services.”
“Currently, almost 25 per cent of household waste collected in Hackney is recycled and, through our continued efforts, we aim to guide future service provision and improvements.”