A lack of suitable bins is the reason Tower Hamlets has one of the worst recycling rates in the country, according to residents.
New data from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has revealed that Tower Hamlets recycles just 20-21 per cent of household waste compared with the rest of the UK.
Tower Hamlets resident Alice James, told Eastlondonlines: “We are keen to recycle. We want to recycle but we can’t because we do not have recycling bins. We don’t even have normal bins!”
In Whitechapel, where James lives, litter is a recurring issue: “Rubbish is put on the streets in shopping bags. We all live in flats where there is nowhere to keep bins and I assume this is why the council hasn’t offered them to us.
“We put all of our rubbish on the streets in bags for collection; there is no option to recycle it, so there is no point in separating the litter. This is an issue for the council. Residents like me couldn’t recycle even if we wanted to.”
According to the data from Defra, the areas of the UK recycling most of their waste are Oxfordshire, Rochford in Essex and the East Riding of Yorkshire, with 65 per cent of household waste being recycled. Nine out of the 10 lowest recycling rates in the UK were found in areas of London.
A Tower Hamlets council spokesperson told Eastlondonlines: “Tower Hamlets’ current recycling rate is a major improvement in comparison to 10 years ago, when the Tower Hamlets recycling rate was nine per cent.
“There are many differences between somewhere like Oxford and Tower Hamlets. The most significant is density of the built environment. In Tower Hamlets 85 per cent of properties are flats with communal recycling bins.
“All residents in the borough, including those living in Whitechapel, have the opportunity to recycle, whether it be using a communal bin for blocks of flats, to wheelie bins and recycling sacks for street level properties. We also have a number of public recycling sites located across the borough.
“We are working tirelessly to find better ways to encourage recycling and are constantly re-evaluating our campaigns and re-directing them to make them more effective.”