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Mayor focuses on carbon reduction in draft municipal waste strategy which is now open for consultation

The mayor of London wants to encourage households in London to focus on methods of waste reduction which achieve the greatest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

This is according to the second draft of his Draft Municipal Waste Strategy, which is now open for public consultation.

London mayor Boris Johnson hopes that by focusing on certain municipal waste streams, such as plastics and food waste, savings will be made in terms of the emissions usually involved in the manufacture of virgin materials.

The strategy estimates that London could save 1.6m tonnes of carbon per year and, after maximising recycling, save £90m off the city’s £4.4bn electricity bill and £24m off London’s £2.5bn gas bill.

As part of the strategy, Johnson outlines proposals to work with the boroughs to boost London’s recycling rates, decrease waste, reduce and reuse more items, to embrace less polluting waste technologies, make more money from waste and ensure streets are cleaner ahead of 2012.

Johnson said: “My waste plans seek to maximise the economic value of London’s waste material while moving away from environmentally damaging methods to dispose of it. This will include funds for infrastructure to make recycling easier and to use waste to generate cleaner, more efficient energy. I also want to ensure our streets and town centres are rubbish free to improve quality of life especially as we gear up to welcome the world to London in 2012 for the Olympic Games.”

The mayor is currently working with the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWaRB) to allocate £5m for projects to help adapt flats to boost recycling facilities such as putting newly designed collection points near doorways or supporting changes to bin chute designs.

Another priority of the strategy is that of reuse and getting more Londoners to focus on reusing items and passing them on to others. LWaRB has committed at least £4million to the London Community Resource Network (LCRN) to help expand its existing activities and is supporting Trinity, a charity that collects unwanted but good quality furniture and sells it through its shops.

By 2015, the Mayor wants the capital to be recycling at least 45% of its municipal waste rising to 60% by 2031, sending zero municipal waste to landfill by 2025.

London Assembly Environment Committee chair Darren Johnson said: “The mayor has responded positively to the recommendations and amendments set out by the Assembly when it considered his proposals in March – and today’s strategy is a step in the right direction. 

“However, it is clear that he needs to go further on food waste and recycling.  

“We are disappointed that the mayor has not set a clear target date for when the boroughs should make provision for recycling food waste.  London is the worst performing region in England for recycling and we believe the strategy allows boroughs too much flexibility.  Boroughs must have something to work towards.”

The mayor’s municipal strategy covers waste collected by boroughs coming from households, some small businesses and litter from streets and parks. Business waste accounts for 80% of all waste generated in London and costs an estimated £2bn to manage. As such, the mayor has also published a draft business waste strategy which, like the municipal waste strategy, is open for consultation until January 14 2011.

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