Rubbish-free London by 2020 if Mayor grasps "zero waste" nettle

Published today, the report shows that thousands of new green jobs would be created if the Mayor adopted a "zero waste" strategy. Zero Waste has been successfully adopted in other countries. It is a strategy that sees waste as a resource and that recognises what can be made of it through recycling, re-using and re-making, whilst challenging the myth that we can manage waste safely in landfills and incinerators.

“London currently recycles or composts 8% of its municipal waste (1). Other world cities like Canberra are aiming for zero waste by 2010, so London needs to pull its finger out,” said Victor Anderson, Green Party Member in the London Assembly.

The report shows that other cities, provinces, states and companies around the world are aiming for zero-waste status as soon as 2020 – while London will still be land-filling or incinerating a huge proportion of waste, missing out on job-creation and other economic benefits.

"Current UK government plans are that by 2020, we’ll still be land-filling a third of our waste, incinerating a third, and recycling or composting only a third. In other words, in 17 years’ time Britain will still be far short of this year’s examples of best practice,” said Green Party Assembly Member Victor Anderson.

He continued, "The report give many examples of waste-minimisation around the world: by companies as well as governments. Edmonton in Canada recycles or composts 70% of its waste already, so why should Edmonton in London have an incinerator? London wants to be a leading world class city, but it is far behind Seattle and Toronto in its plans for waste management."

Edmonton in Canada reduced its landfill waste by two-thirds in two years without resorting to incineration. Nova Scotia set a target of 50% diversion of solid waste from landfill within 5 years and will cut its number of waste disposal sites from 40 to 10 within 10 years as a result.

Victor Anderson AM concludes: "Faced with examples like this, it’s clear that London can aim to go further and move faster, and reap significant economic as well as environmental benefits."



1. The Mayor’s Draft Municipal Waste Management Strategy, p vii
2. Full report “Laying Britain to Waste? Why the UK needs a Zero Waste Strategy” by Grace Gedge and Spencer Fitz-Gibbon.

For further information contact Keith Magnum
London Green Party Press Officer 07732 465571


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