New green scheme aims to boost borough recycling

Cllr Feryal Demirci and staff from Hackney's recycling crews. Pic: Sean PollockRecycling in Hackney will be simplified from March 1 in an effort to improve the borough’s recycling record, which is among the worst in London.

Green sacks will replace green boxes, making collections easier and potentially saving £12m by 2020, according to the council. The current scheme is restricted to street-level residences only and the local authority says an additional 14,533 properties will now be able to recycle.

Hackney councillor Feryal Demirci said it was time for a change: “The green box service scheme has served us well but is now nearly 10 years old. In that time, we have seen recycling levels increase to 25 per cent, but to further increase those levels, we need some fresh thinking.”

Trials for the new system took place from September in Cazenove Ward with results showing a 31.5 per cent increase in recycling.

In 2011, government figures showed that Hackney’s recycling rate was 25 per cent – well below the national average of 40 per cent. This is the fourth lowest rate in London; Bexley’s rate of 51 per cent is the highest. Hackney council have yet to publish more recent data on waste and recycling in the borough.

Sustainable Hackney, a local environmental organisation, voiced concerns about the impact of mixed recycling. Spokesperson James Diamond said: “People are more likely to treat a mixed bag as general waste, causing a lower proportion of recyclable material to be collected.”

However, Demirci argued the new collection scheme is quick and easy to use: ‘’[It] will allow us to push recycling levels higher and provide a service which is both environmentally friendly and financially sustainable for Hackney.”

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