16 December 2019 by Claudia Glover

Lewisham unveils £1.4 million recycling plan

Lewisham council has unveiled a £1.4 million ‘recycling and reduction plan’, as part of efforts to meet the London mayor’s 50% recycling target by 2025.

The standout measure of the plan will see the council – which recorded a 28% rate in the latest Defra figures – extend its weekly food waste and fortnightly residual service to estates and flats by 2021.

Recycling and refuse bins in the borough of Lewisham

The council launched a weekly food waste collection service in 2017 for houses in a move which also saw residual waste collection occur fortnightly. Lewisham said this played a big part in its increased rate from 21.8% in 2017/18.

In his 2018 London Environment Strategy, Sadiq Khan introduced a target for 50% of local authority collected waste in London to be recycled by 2030, in order to help reach an overall 65% municipal target.

Lewisham council explained that London boroughs need to develop a Reduction and Recycling Plans by 2020 setting out how it plans to meet this.


Other measures in Lewisham’s plan will see it replace single use plastics with glass and reusable bottles for their front line workers, and contractors will be asked to minimise emissions in the using of electric vehicles.

Food-waste awareness initiatives such as Love food, Hate Waste will be supported and publicised by the borough, while extra garden waste collection will also have a higher publicity drive.

The Council added that it is also preparing to procure a new contract for the processing and sale of dry recyclables.

The contract specification includes the Mayor of London’s minimum level requirements for recycling, and provision has been included for additional materials and waste from commercial businesses.

“It is generally accepted that recycling is more difficult for residents in flats”

Lewisham council


Lewisham predicted that three additional organic rounds per week are likely to be required to manage the 11,000 tonnes proposed increase in recycling volumes, costing £600k a year.

Other initiatives such as setting up a materials re-use shop, trialling and purchasing electric vans, setting up a “contamination hit squad” and various residents and traders communications campaigns are estimated to cost a further £150k per annum.


Speaking at the cabinet meeting on 11 December, the executive director for housing, regeneration and the environment said:

“It is generally accepted that recycling is more difficult for residents in flats; there is a high proportion of flats in the borough. Further, it is expected that development within the borough over the coming years will include a large number of flats.

“Those factors mean that achieving recycling levels comparable with outer London boroughs, which tend to have a lower proportion of flats, will be challenging”.


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