Recycling in the borough

Ms Nanda Shaheen asked about recycling in the borough and how it can improve recycling services

Reply by Cllr Cem Kemahli; Lead Member for Environment

The Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea is one of the few Councils in London which provides twice weekly rubbish collection. In the latest Residents’ Survey conducted in 2018, 86% of residents were fairly/very satisfied with the waste collection service, which compares with a national average of 80%. We have also increased our recycling rate for two years in a row and are on track to doing so again this year.

The Council is committed to improving recycling in the borough. In early February 2018, we introduced a separate food waste collection to around 1700 properties in the South-West of the borough and due to the popularity of the service, we rolled it out to a further 1750 properties in the North of the borough. The Waste Action Team also run several services and work on different projects to improve recycling and encourage waste reduction in our borough, such as holding educational and engaging community events, improving bin infrastructure on estates and on the street, making sure households with a kerbside collection get all the clear recycling bags they need and those on estates are given reusable bags, running successful garden waste and Christmas tree recycling collection service, and working closely with our collection crews to help them spot when recycling bags and bins contain the wrong items. Moreover, as you stated, awareness is key to improving recycling, and the Council is currently working on a communications campaign with an environmental charity and a stakeholder from the food industry.  

The Council is also committed to increasing recycling and reducing waste within its own premises. To that end, a Plastic Free Policy was formally approved in May, and we have already made some progress on reducing the Council’s single-use plastic consumption.

Regarding our schools, which you mentioned, we offer free recycling to state schools and we are not aware of any that do not currently offer recycling. We also have a dedicated energy efficiency work programme for schools and during the site visits, officers check if recycling facilities are in place. If you are aware of a school which does not recycle as you stated, we would be grateful if you could tell us which school you are referring to so that we can get in touch and see how we can help them recycle. In addition, our Waste Disposal Authority runs daily class trips to our education centre at Smugglers Way, and a programme of assemblies and workshops in schools promoting the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), as part of our Climate Change Workshops/sessions and assemblies. Since the programme started in 2013 we have worked with 24 out of 27 state primary schools in Kensington and Chelsea. Moreover, we encourage schools to sign up to the Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Schools scheme. As schools will be procuring their catering provision individually from 2020, the Council also provides assistance to them in assessing their own plastic use. We also offer support to schools who organise their own eco weeks and events related to recycling and single-use plastics. For example, two litter pick events were held by Chepstow House School with support from the Council. Moreover, we provide educational opportunities for schools to raise pupils’ awareness about plastic pollution, such as the ‘’Plastic Warriors’’ workshop which was developed recently for nursery children.

We welcome residents taking an interest in waste and recycling and will happily discuss and share our plans to continue to increase recycling and reduce waste.  We are also currently speaking with a local plastic free group about running some awareness campaigns across the borough and want to build on this and work closer with residents and community groups. If you are interested in getting involved or would just like a general conversation please get in touch with our Waste Action Development Manager, Thomas.baylis@rbkc.gov.uk.