Catch recycling's most wanted

Monday 21 September 2020

A playful new campaign will help West London residents recycle more and better as Kensington and Chelsea Council teams up with Kensington-based innocent drinks and environmental charity Hubbub this Recycle Week (21-27 September 2020).

As people spend more time at home, we’re generating more waste than ever before, including an average of 128 pieces of plastic per household. This creates a particular problem in densely populated boroughs, such as Kensington and Chelsea. Over the last three years, the Council has achieved an overall increase in its recycling rate of just under 3 per cent. Now standing at 28.6 per cent, this is ahead of most other boroughs with similar housing composition, but there is still room to do even better.

Polling shows that one-in-three Londoners find recycling information difficult to understand, with less than half (45 per cent) saying they’re confident about what can be recycled and more than half (51 per cent) agreeing that clearer information would encourage them to recycle more.

From this week, residents of the borough will see messages on posters, recycling bags and leaflets, digital displays and recycling trucks asking them to help catch "recycling’s most wanted". These include items such as drinks cans, yogurt pots and bathroom plastics that belong in the recycling, but sometimes manage to escape.

Recycling can easily be spoiled by food and drink, meaning that even if items are put in the right bin, they are too dirty to be recycled. Residents are being urged to “wash their bits” to reduce pressure on the collection crew who often have to make decisions on whether items are fit for recycling.

Cllr Cem Kemahli, Lead Member for Environment at Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “I hope residents connect with this fun campaign and it makes recycling at home simpler. Our waste collectors and sorters have made heroic efforts during the pandemic to provide an essential service that we couldn’t manage without. We can all make their jobs easier by recycling the most wanted items.

“Getting recycling right contributes to our ambition for a cleaner and greener Kensington and Chelsea with less waste, better air quality and a carbon neutral borough by 2040.”

Vaughan MacIntosh, Chargehand/Loader for the Council’s waste collector SUEZ, said: “It’s great that the new campaign will help people know what they can put in their recycling and what should go in the rubbish. We work hard to recycle as much as possible, from pulling-up and separating recycling and waste bags at the kerbside, to spotting and removing items that can’t be recycled during collection and loading. We remove as many items as we can, when it’s safe and practical to do so, but it’s challenging. Sometimes the contamination is hidden, or it is wet and dirty, and spoils the rest of the clean recycling. It would be a great help if people separate their recycling at home correctly.”

Louise Stevens, Head of Circular Economy at innocent drinks, said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of this campaign, and we feel this could be a breakthrough when it comes to recycling rates. We got a few of our talented writers and designers on the case and we’re looking forward to supporting our neighbours in their recycling efforts."

Gavin Ellis, Co-Founder and Director of Hubbub said: “Lockdown completely transformed the way we live and work, including our recycling habits and we know from our research that 43 per cent of people are more concerned about plastic pollution than before Covid-19. At a hugely challenging time for local authorities, supporting households to recycle better is more important than ever before. We know that many people want to recycle correctly but that they’re confused about what to do with their waste and we hope this campaign will make it easier for the people of Kensington and Chelsea to do the right thing.”

Find out more about the campaign and recycling guidance.