2x1 plastics

Waste: Household recycling

Date published: 
21 December 2017

Key facts

  • Each year in London we throw away 890,000 tonnes of food from our homes, of which 540,000 tonnes (enough to fill 42,000 London buses) could have been eaten.
  • One year’s worth of a borough’s domestic food waste could generate enough electricity to power a local primary school for over 10 years.
  • 85 per cent of London’s residents believe recycling makes a difference, yet our recycling rates remain some of the worst in the UK.
  • The average London household recycling rate must increase by almost a third by 2030, if the Mayor’s overall recycling target it to be met. For individual households, this means increasing recycling by almost 60kg per year.
  • Currently, only six London boroughs recycle this proportion of household waste. 

Waste: Household Recycling - Environment Committee


  • More waste needs to be recycled from London’s growing number of flats and the Mayor of London should focus efforts on getting more to recycle. 50 per cent of London’s housing stock is flats and there will need to be a 40 per cent increase in recycling in flats if the Mayor’s recycling target is to be met by 2030.
  • Milan’s municipal recycling increased dramatically by introducing food waste collections to all properties, including flats. Density has not been a barrier to increasing recycling there by 20 per cent since 2011. 80 per cent of the population in Milan live in high rise buildings.
  • Measures such as limiting bin size, reducing the frequency of general waste collections and introducing fines for households that don’t recycle should all be considered urgently.
  • The London Plan could address recycling capacity in new developments to ensure new flats are equipped with the right recycling facilities.

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