Fresh call for weekly collections as recycling target missed

Opposition councillors demand recycling bins be collected weekly council after target missed, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A recycling truck outside Enfield Civic Centre (credit Enfield Council)
Fortnightly bin collections were introduced in Enfield in March 2020 (credit Enfield Council)

Enfield Council will look to ramp up borough-wide recycling after consistently failing to meet its target during the past year.  

Rick Jewell, cabinet member for environment, says the council is “stepping up a gear” after the coronavirus pandemic hampered efforts to encourage residents to boost the amount of waste they recycle.

The council’s current target is to ensure 37% of household waste is sent for reuse, recycling and composting. Its climate action plan, published last year, aims to up the figure to 49% by 2022. But according to a performance report, the average recycling rate across 2020/21 was 33.2% – dropping to a low of 31.9% in the final quarter. 

Enfield’s Conservative opposition group criticised the findings and claimed they showed the move to fortnightly bin collections in March last year had failed to boost recycling. 

Maria Alexandrou, shadow cabinet member for climate change, said: “These figures portray the council’s inability to deal effectively with recycling. Labour continue to miss their targets, which ridicules their feeble attempt to tackle climate change. To increase recycling rates, weekly recycling collections must resume.” 

The report was discussed during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Speaking during the meeting, Cllr Jewell said the coronavirus pandemic had affected the recycling rate, but its impact was expected to diminish.

He said teams were being sent out to engage with the public, including visiting schools to talk to children about recycling. A waste and recycling board will also be established to provide oversight of the council’s recycling efforts.

Doug Wilkinson, director of environment, said the council was identifying parts of the borough where recycling bins are contaminated and engaging with people “over a long period of time” to encourage “behavioural change”.

He added that the council was looking to provide appropriate recycling facilities for flats, which he described as “hugely challenging across London”.

Doug said: “I think we are at that point where we can start and do what we always planned to do, and hopefully kick on and improve those recycling rates.”