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Less waste and more recycling – official Defra figures bring positive news for SLWP boroughs

14 December 2018

Official figures published by Defra this week show that residents across the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) region are producing less waste and recycling more than they were last year.

On average, each person who lives in the SLWP area produced 348kg of waste and recycling in the 12 months between April 2017 and March 2018 (the period covered by Defra’s latest Annual Report).  That’s a reduction of 12kg per person from the year before.

Annie Baker, Strategic Partnership Manager for the SLWP said:

“12kg is the equivalent weight of 200 mince pies, so it’s not insignificant. With around 1 million residents living across the four SLWP boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton, that sort of per-person reduction really adds up.  It delivers very significant environmental and financial benefits.”

Not only are residents producing less waste; they are also recycling more.  The average recycling rate across the four boroughs has jumped by almost four percentage points to 43.1% (compared to a London average of 33.1%).  Much of this improvement is thanks to a surge in recycling in the London Borough of Sutton, where the recycling rate increased by 13.5 percentage points from 36.5% to 50% – the second biggest increase anywhere in the country.

Annie Baker continued:

“Sutton’s recycling rate has dramatically improved because of the changes we – alongside our contractor, Veolia – made to the collection system in April 2017. This included introducing a new food waste collection service and reducing the frequency of rubbish collections. Sutton is now one of just three London boroughs that is recycling 50% or more of its waste – that is something to be very proud of.

“Equally significant changes have recently been made to the collection services in Croydon and Merton, as part of our plan to provide a harmonised recycling and waste collection service across all four boroughs.  The impact these changes will have on recycling rates is not included in the latest data released by Defra. We are expecting recycling rates in Croydon and Merton to also rise, so we hope to have similarly good news this time next year.”

Annie Baker concludes:

“Achieving and maintaining this improved recycling performance over the course of a year has taken a huge effort from our residents, boroughs and Veolia.  There’s lots of hard work for us and our collection crews ahead, including picking up all this additional recycling over the Christmas period! But I’m delighted that our hard work is paying off.  Collectively we are determined to continue to drive recycling rates up in the years to come.”


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