The South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) slightly increased its recycling rate by 0.3% to 39% between April 2020 and March 2021 when compared to the previous financial year, while waste arisings jumped 7.6%.
The SLWP manages waste for the London boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton.
As shown in the table below, the recycling rate remained stable, while more people working from home contributed to a 7.8% jump in waste volumes.
Of the total 354,681 tonnes recorded by the SLWP, 216,380 were residual waste, 76,931 recycling, 30,639 green waste and 30,731 food waste.
The 39% figure includes all waste streams the partnership handles, including non-household waste. This is likely to be lower than the annual household recycling rate announced by Defra. In 2019/20 the SLWP recorded a 48% recycling rate.
All six of the household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) managed by the SLWP under a contract with Veolia saw a reduction in the materials they received in the 2020/21 financial year.
On 24 March 2020 the SLWP closed its six HWRCs following government advice in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sites reopened on 13 May 2020 under measures including restrictions to visitor numbers, enhanced hygiene, social distancing and additional signage.
Subsequently, residual waste tonnages received by the HWRCs in 2020/21 fell by just more than 19%.
SLWP analysis shows a 41% reduction in cardboard tonnages, a 59% drop in glass bottles and a 48% drop in textiles.
In most years, the SLWP says, the HWRCs would receive around 11,000 tonnes of green waste between April and March. The annual figure for 2020/21 dropped by 36% to just more than 7,000 tonnes.
At the end of April 2021, the combined recycling rate for the preceding 12 months at the SLWP HWRCs was 65%, a 1% drop from the 2019/20 financial year.
A report which went before the SLWP joint waste committee on 8 June reads: “All six sites saw a reduction in total materials received in the reporting year, and this is assumed to be the result of the site closures and additional Covid measures in place throughout the year.
“The Kingston, Sutton, and Merton sites have all seen a drop in tonnes of between 32-35%. In Croydon, Factory Lane saw a 30% reduction in the total tonnes received, and Purely Oaks 13%. However, Fishers Farm saw a 1% reduction in tonnes received at the site.”
The SLWP awarded Viridor a contract for the treatment and disposal of residual waste in November 2012 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Under the contract, residual waste is treated at the Beddington energy from waste (EfW) plant.
The SLWP delivered just more than 216,000 tonnes of residual waste to Beddington between April 2020 and March 2021, an increase of 7% when compared to 2019/20.
For the first time, 100% of the residual waste delivered by SLWP partner boroughs to Beddington was treated via EfW, with none sent to landfill.