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NRAs 2019: Team of the Year – Public and Third Sector

WINNER: Islington Council recycling team

Islington’s recycling team consists of Matthew Homer, Jean Hughes, Janice Grant and Pawel Ryczan. Its strength is not simply in the work it does, but the way it works with others within the wider street environment services team.

In 2017, the council started a comprehensive review of household recycling in Islington. This looked at all aspects of the service, including education, housing, training, and a review of procedures and policies.

JUDGES’ COMMENT: “They demonstrated real perseverance and what can be achieved by a small team with few resources by collaborating and engaging with colleagues outside the team.”

The outcome was a report with 82 recommendations, including training for frontline staff such as caretakers, librarians and community centre workers, using data in a smarter way to deliver performance-based communications and improve planning procedures for new buildings.

Central to these recommendations was a recognition that the recycling team could not deliver all this alone, and that many of the recommendations could best be approached through council services beyond recycling.

So Matthew, Jean, Janice and Pawel worked with colleagues to deliver the recommendations, embracing this on top of existing commitments. Their main constraint was that there was no money to buy services or consultants, but their achievements include:

  • A trial of estate and school performance tables using bin weighing technology
  • A caretaker training programme, delivered with the housing department
  • Working with the new builds team to ensure excellent recycling facilities
  • Working with the council’s tenant management organisation licensing scheme team on recycling
  • Improvements to recycling sites across the borough
  • Working with the education department to improve outreach and ensure all schools have comprehensive recycling and food waste collection services
  • Working with the procurement team to embed circular economy principles.


  • Ashburnham Christian Trust
  • British Metals Recycling Association
  • Chaos Cornwall
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • London Waste & Recycling Board
  • Network Rail
  • Oxford Direct Services
  • Surrey Environment Partnership
  • Tyddyn Môn

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