Do you live in a flat? What is your experience of recycling – do you encounter any problems? What do you think could be done differently so that you could recycle more of your waste?
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We live in a block of flats and rent from a private landlord.
We currently do not have any recycling bins in our waste disposal area. We have spoken to our landlord about this who is not open for discussion on the issue. A year ago the bin area outside our block was in such a bad state as the large bins were too small for the amount of waste produced by the block of flats. Tenants were not separating waste properly and throwing general waste into the recycling bins. We demanded larger bins and in that time the landlord removed the recycling bin and told the council not to pick up recycling from our block. She won't budge on this.
As a result any waste we produce at home has to be thrown into our general waste bin.
I have now started to try to bring any plastic bottles, cans, glass to a public recycling area a few stops away on the tube as it is so disheartening/downright depressing not being able to recycle.
This has also prompted me to think about living as low/zero waste a lifestyle as possible or at least majorly reducing the amount of plastic wrapped produce I buy as I am forced to look at the amount of rubbish I produce daily.
Recycling for people in flats are real problems where we live. I live in a block of flats and we never had recycling bins. I had to phone council to give us one.
The real issue is that we have no idea and are not educated how and what we should be recycling (which plastics? Do we wash the recyclable items? What if they are wet? Cardboard boxes to be flattened? Etc) in addition to the problem of lazy people just using as dumping ground.
Further more there are absolutely no help regarding food waste which are a huge proportion is what we can actually recycle.
I called my council and they were totally uninterested. Councils offer subsidised compost bins but you need a garden which only exists for lucky people in my council. Won’t bins are not practical. Councils should be doing so much more to reduce food waste as well. I spoke to some business owners in my council. They just dump everything including food and recyclables in one bag they pay.
We get told we have to recycle and reduce waste including food but if councils and government don’t help and educate us (more fund for food waste collections from flats where most of us in London live!) then this waste problem won’t be solved. We will all be sending all rubbish to landfill even if we don’t want to.
I’m fed up with the unwillingness of my councils to recycle including food waste. I called many times and they are simply hopeless. London is very behind in recycling both materials and food waste.
Thanks for all your views and sharing your experience.
Some of you have mentioned you have communal recycling facilities. Does that cause any problems?
We've previously had our recycling bins removed because people weren't using them properly - i.e. putting in normal waste alongside recycling.
We've just had mixed recycling bins reinstated with narrow openings to prevent general rubbish dumping, but I've a sinking feeling that people might still find a way to render it unusable...
We live in a block of 30 flats two stories high on a footprint shared with a small block of sheltered housing in SW15, we have a common recycling enclosure containing three large bin. Our problem is the persistent dumping of general detritus and redundant furniture by non-residents in the area on an almost industrial scale that's turning an attractive little estate into an eyesore, the solution would appear to remove council charges for dumping house clearances into the Smugglers Way recycling facility in nearby Wandsworth to encourage the fly tippers to use it instead.
I've pretty much given up trying to recycle in my flat. We carefully sort our recyclables, wash them out, etc etc, take them out to the blue bin - to find that the other flats have dumped food waste and plastic bags in the bin. So the council won't take them. As of right now the blue bins have been there - uncollected - full of food waste and maggots and flies for over a month. In very London fashion the other residents just don't care. It's always 'not my problem'. I am on the point of emptying the blue bins myself into the black bins and glueing a big picture of a plastic bag with a red line through it on each bin lid...
When I recently contacted Brent Council about our inadequate bins at my block of flats, I was told via email that I could pick up stickers for them from the Civic Centre!
I mean really, I have a job and study part-time. I pay council tax to Brent to sort out recycling and now it is suggested I should do their job for them. Is it any wonder London's recycling rates are so bad?!
My first flat had great recycling bins (the proper ones where you put the items through a slot and it stops people shoving general waste bags in). The recycling bins were in a separate place to the general waste bins which helped.
My current flat that I've lived in for about 5 years has terrible recycling facilities. The proper recycling bins were never provided (it was a new build) and thus people just chuck all their general waste in with the recycling, contaminating all of it.
The bins are all stored together within a gated car park and this causes problems for the council with access.
I have found this incredibly frustrating and demoralising. I've complained to the council and the housing association several times about it but they both pass the buck saying each other needs to sort out the problem.
I take my recycling to a mixed recycling bin elsewhere but that's on,y because I feel strongly about it. I should have access to a proper bin where I live.
Food waste is collected in a food waste bin but this is frequently full causing issues with vermin.
My block of flats in Brent has not been given the proper recycling bins either so all the rubbish is a total mess and just gets taken as general waste. Really frustrating for those of us who want to recycle and feel strongly about it. One type of Recycling bin for flats should be mandatory and councils should be made accountable, after all we pay council tax at high rates.
Thanks for all your comment so far.
Are all the things you want collected? And are they picked up from your door or do you have a different set up? How well does that work?
The bins are in a gated car park. This causes issues with access for the council refuse collectors if the housing association doesn't provide them with the access code or a dongle. It doesn't work very well because of this.
I live in a flat which recycles and has rubbish collection in large bins rather than roadside collection. This is great because it means that there is no unsightly waste on the street or bins blocking anything. It also means that we can put almost everything in mixed recycling and anything else in waste. The only downside is that there is not any food waste disposal.
I would like to see some areas of camden follow this lead rather than having waste on the streets. They should follow places like bristol which put those big bins on the end of the street in an area, doesn't look unsightly and then each house/flat gets a key to the bins. They are emptied once a day and twice on weekends and then there are no issues with putting waste out at incorrect times or stuff starting to smell.
Obviously in most new builds these bins are placed in the basement or ground floor which helps, but i would like to see these provided for old builds too on street corners.
I recycle everything. Even washing up water. I flush the lavatory with it. It means carrying the washing up bucket, not a bowl, into the bathroom and filling a bucket in the bath, which I then flush with. I keep shower water in the bath, and flush with that using a bucket over a couple of days. Result;. my monthly water bill is £12, and I always have a credit at year's end because of direct debit. I have hung solar panels on an outside wall, they run through a controller and then an inverter, so I can power stuff from batteries, even an electric fire if the lights go out. This started as a proof of concept for my camper van. Well, solar power's not that economic. What it is, is convenient if there's no option. I now realise, through experiment, that refillable calor gas is best. Pound for Mass Pound the gas outperforms solar batteries 500 to 1. I spend a lot of time ripping our names off of letters and envelopes for recycling, it would be good if shredded paper were accepted for recycling, but it is not. Despite having a vehicle I tend to walk and run everywhere I have to go. I took an exam in Southgate and walked there from Kentish Town, and walked back afterwards, really enjoyable. I cycle as a second choice. I am very hostile to Government and City Hall schemes and directives which I see as filling the trough for other Alumni and their college friends. I only do all this Friends of the Earth (who I despise) stuff because it saves me money, and I saw the dystopian future in Soylent Green that awaits our descendants. Of course, I am probably wasting my time strategically, but not financially, because the huge immigration means we are importing vast waste problems for the future, so any recycling we do now is just useless, given the waste produced by an extra 5 million population. A nice arab family moved in next door, they got a huge mercedes after a month, which they use all the time, so multiply that by whatever and you should see my point. Well all the best,xR
I am the Treasurer, one of four directors, who mange the block of 21 flats where I live in Enfield. We have a 1200 litre reycling bin plus a smaller organic waste recycling bin for food etc where we do have to buy our own compostable bags. Most folk do recycle, but there are one or two, despite letters, who still throw cardboard and other recyclable items in the ordinary bin.
We also encourage folk to wash anything that they want to recycle, in order not to contaminate the recycling bin.
I'm all for it - the more we can recycle the better.
We have communal recycling and standard rubbish bins. However people are incredibly lazy and dump non-recyclable waste in with waste that can be recycled. I don't know if this means that it is all sent to landfill or if it is separated. I would feel very annoyed if the time that we take to separate everything is wasted because the recycling has been "contaminated" with standard household waste. We live in Southwark.
Yep, the other flats in my block which bother with recycling, think chicken bones and greasy kitchen towel are all good things for recycling. So do the foxes who then rip open the bags, left out for the recycling collection. I have asked the council if they have someone dedicated to come and chat to them about what should go in, but neither side care!
I totally agree about lazy people contaminating the recycling, it drives me nuts!
There's a fair amount of willingness to recycle in our flats in North London but the council don't include our flats on the blue bin run (which in our area is for recycling paper/cans/cardboard etc.) & only at extra cost will they include the flats on the garden waste circuit.
You'd think that there would be a good amount of recycling potential from a whole street of flats; I find it quite sad that when I put out all 10 of our wheelie-bins on a Friday morning a good 50% of the material in them is newspapers, card, cans & bottles - all going straight to landfill.
Many of the residents in the flats are not mobile enough to get to town to use the recycling bins there & a lot of the rest of them won't bother unless the recycling bin is right there.
It seems like a wasted opportunity to improve the area's (& nation's) recycling levels.
I live in a flat in Tower Hamlets. You have to use Tower Hamlets recycling bags, but they won't deliver these. You have to collect them and show ID at the nearest library. Even when you do this, they'll only give you 1 roll. This return journey takes around an hour for me, and as a busy person it's not realistic that I'll do this on a regular basis. So it prevents me from recycling most of the time.
Similar happens in Greenwich except they do give you two rolls. If you fill them to capacity they will not go into the re-cycling bin. We also have shoots on our balconies accessed by the kitchen so most people do not re-cycle as it far easier to just chuck everything into the shute.