Latest figures show that around 40% of borough waste is recycled
Instead of being taken to landfill, residual rubbish from local households is now transported by barge to a new Energy-from-Waste plant at Belvedere in Kent . This generates electricity which is fed into the National Grid and enables metals and ashes to be recovered for recycling.
Recovering valuable metals reclaimed from waste after it has been incinerated increased recycling by nearly 2 per cent and recycling ashes added around 12 per cent. It also means that methane emissions from waste left to rot in landfill sites are avoided, helping to reduce Wandsworth's carbon footprint.
The borough, which has always had - and plans to retain - a weekly collection, has seen a steady year-on-year increase in the amount of rubbish recycled. In 2006/7 the municipal waste recycling figure was 21 per cent.
The council has been working hard to improve recycling rates. Other innovations over the past five years include the installation of more orange-lidded recycling banks on estates and a new plant at Smugglers Way which has enabled a much wider range of plastics to be recycled.
The council also launched its Less in the Bin, More in Your Pocket publicity campaign back in 2009 to encourage people to think twice before dumping things in the bin. This shows residents how producing less waste and recycling more saves the council money in disposal costs, so helping to keep council tax low.
Since the campaign was launched the quantity of waste collected from local households has fallen by more than 5,000 tonnes, or nearly six per cent, despite a significant increase in the number of new households. This keeps the council on course to save around £700,000 in waste disposal costs.
To further reduce waste, residents are encouraged to compost garden waste rather than throwing it away. Special offers are available on composters and shredders, and groups of neighbours are encouraged to start community composting teams, with small grants for equipment potentially available through the council's Eco Fund.
Executive member for environment and leisure Cllr Jonathan Cook said:
"Over the years the people of Wandsworth have consistently recycled more and thrown away less. This has saved us many thousands of pounds in disposal costs and helped us keep council tax low. In return we make it as easy as we can for people to recycle. In Wandsworth you won't have to put up with a rainbow of different coloured bins - there's just one orange sack or orange-lidded bin for everything - and we pick up rubbish and recycling weekly, so it won't pile up in your garden."
He continued, "And if things have to be thrown away, our new Energy from Waste plant means we can use rubbish to generate electricity - and can even recycle the ash left behind. We will continue to innovate and find new ways of dealing with household waste, and I feel sure residents will continue to do their bit to make Wandsworth as green as we can make it."
October 9, 2011