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Street waste gets recycled in the heart of the city

Westminster City Council has said that an innovative scheme aimed at boosting recycling rates being trialled in the West End has produced reasonable results so far.

The scheme involves street sweepers having to sift through waste to salvage recyclable materials such as tins, cans, glass and plastic for recycling in the Soho area.

Recycling officer Phil Robson told MRW: We are trialling street cleansing litter because it makes up one quarter of household waste stream. Around 1.3 million visitors pass through Soho in one day and they leave a very high proportion of street waste.

We are looking at how to get street sweepers to segregate the waste and looking at what we can do in the longer term to hit recycling targets in the future.

Initial results show that the 375 street sweepers are collecting more than 1.2 tonnes of material for recycling each week which would otherwise have ended up in landfill.

Robson said: The street sweepers take the recyclables to one of the 13 depots in Oxford Street at the end of their shifts. They have a green bag for residual waste and a blue bag for dry recyclables, like paper, cans and cardboard.

This is just one of the initiatives that we have in place. In highly pedestrianised areas we have bins for newspapers.

Robson added that other boroughs may adopt the scheme in order to meet their recycling targets. However, the council is unique from other authorities, producing 20,000 tonnes of waste from street litter, due to its large number of visitors.

We get everything from dead pigeons to cans to McDonalds cups.

The trial is due to end at the end of June.

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