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Recycling – no time to waste

Anna RobertsI read with a certain amount of surprise in a recent article in the Standard stating there has been a decrease in the amount of waste recycled by London households in the year to April. Although the drop is small I understand it’s the first decrease in London since records began in 2000. This seems to me to be a great shame, and I really hope it’s not the start of a long-term downward trend.

I’m lucky to live in a borough which provides the means to recycle as much waste as possible and I feel proud when I put my recycling bins out for collection, full to the brim with carefully separated refuse. I also have a local recycling centre which allows me to recycle almost any item to prevent it from landfill. What’s more it’s open 362 days a year – no excuse not to pay them a visit!

I realise not every borough can offer the same facilities as others apparently due to budget constraints, but as the article says ‘They [boroughs] need to treat waste as a resource, and not just burn as much as they can get away with’.

In my day job I’m Admin Services Manager at mruk, and I’d like to think that some of my recycling enthusiasm has rubbed off on my role here. As a company we take environmental issues very seriously and promote initiatives encouraging all staff to think sustainability as part of their day to day job, and create a greener working environment.

Recycling UnitsWe are committed to developing efficient waste management and recycling procedures. One of our initiatives removed all individual desk bins and we introduced clear and accessible recycling points on both floors of our office instead.  We did this back in 2009 but at the end of 2013 we updated them further, making them even more accessible to everyone – as well as creating a tidier and more professional look to the office!

It wasn’t cheap to set up but by partnering with First Mile, London’s leading recycling company, we can now monitor more easily what is recycled vs what is incinerated. And by benchmarking our efforts on a monthly basis via an intuitive recycling report I’m able to feedback to staff on how we are doing and, more importantly, how we can improve. To date our average recycling rate from January 2014 – October 2014 is 94.6% – an increase of 18% since last year.

Creating recycling facilities certainly requires investment in both time and money, so it requires commitment in the home, the office and from local and national government. But if we are to prevent recyclable materials being dumped in landfill surely it’s worth it? And then just maybe there’s hope for our planet.  I’d certainly like to think so.

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