Recycling declines across South London councils

7 Feb 2024
Recylce sign

In 2022/23, 283 kg of household waste was generated per person in Lewisham, Southwark, Lambeth, and Wandsworth. 

However, analysis by Lambeth Liberal Democrats reveals that only 77 kg per person was reused, recycled, or composted across the four Inner-London Boroughs, which are all under Labour leadership. 

Nine of the ten best performing councils in England are run by the Liberal Democrats, including the country’s top local authority, South Oxfordshire, which recycles 61.6% of household waste. The Lib Dems’ three London boroughs – Kingston, Sutton, and Richmond – also feature in the top ten. 

In contrast, Labour-run Wandsworth is the fourth worst performing local authority in England, recycling just 22.4% of household waste. 

The Government data, released at the end of January, shows that the percentage of household waste recycled fell in Lewisham (by 4.2%), Southwark (3.7%), Lambeth (3.4%) and Wandsworth (0.5%) from 2021/22 to 2022/23. 

At 214 kg per person, Lambeth produces less household waste than any other local authority in England. Despite this, only 31.1% was recycled last year – down from 3.4% in 2021/22. 

Between 2021/22 and 2022/23, the amount of household waste produced in the four South London boroughs decreased from 374,967 tonnes to 355,812 tonnes. In the same period, the amount of recycling fell from 112,407 tonnes (29.97%) to 96,451 tonnes (27.1%). 

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs acknowledges that, in urban areas with a higher proportion of flats, the lack of garden waste being produced and barriers to recycling tend to reduce recycling rates.


Commenting, Cllr Donna Harris, Leader of the Lambeth Liberal Democrat Group, said:


“The decline in recycling rates across Labour’s London Boroughs is deeply concerning. We urgently need to adopt proactive measures to promote recycling and waste reduction. Labour’s lazy approach to waste management is unfair on local residents.  


“There is a clear difference between electing the Lib Dems over Labour here in London. Liberal Democrats consistently prove that it is possible to recycle over 60% of household waste, but only when the council gets on board and provides residents with the knowledge and infrastructure they need to recycle well.” 

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