22 March 2018 by Joshua Doherty

Research begins into London flat recycling

Resource London and the Peabody Housing Association have partnered for a two year project to explore “barriers to recycling” in purpose built flats across inner London boroughs.

Purpose-built flats make up 37% of London’s residential accommodation, according to data from the Greater London Authority – with flats accounting for up to 80% of households in some boroughs. The percentage of people living in purpose built flats in London is also set to rise, with nearly half (46%) set to be living in purpose built flats by 2030.

Resource London is is a jointly funded support programme for London’s waste authorities delivered in partnership by the London Waste and Recycling Board and WRAP, the UK’s resource efficiency body.

The percentage of people living in purpose built flats in London is set to rise to 46% by 2030.

WRAP statistics have also shown that on average, residents who live in flats recycle half as much as those living in houses.

The partnership will aim to conduct in-depth research with residents in flats to understand the barriers to recycling that they face. This is part of a wider piece of work by Resource London to learn more about recycling behaviours in purpose-built flats and will aim to “deliver practical interventions that make a real difference”.


Joshua Doherty speaks with Anthony Buchan of Recycle for London, who is heading the project.


Later phases will include trying out different approaches on a number of inner London Peabody estates to see which interventions increase recycling the most.

Peabody Housing Association

The Peabody Housing Association has around 55,000 properties across London and the South East and is one of London’s oldest housing associations after being founded in 1862.

The focus of the research will be households in inner London boroughs, particularly those where there are large numbers of flats and lower levels of home ownership. It will explore recycling behaviours of residents with researchers spending time in residents’ homes to learn how recycling fits with people’s everyday lives, the practical details of what and when they recycle as well as what motivates them to do it.

Dr Liz Goodwin, chair at London Waste and Recycling Board, said:  “We are excited to be working with Peabody, their residents and London boroughs to understand some of the complex barriers to improving recycling rates in purpose-built flats in the capital. The outcomes of this project will be used to develop a new approach to providing flats recycling services and inform waste policy.”


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