New recycling network for London announced

July 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced that a new network is being launched to improve the recycling of household items in the nation’s capital. The aim of the new network is to drastically reduce the amount of useable items that are being thrown away and ending up in landfill sites.

The campaign was jointly launched with actress Joanna Lumley, and will receive £8 million from the London Waste and Recycling Board. The London Community Resource Network, which comprises 35 separate organisations, has been commissioned to run the programme, which will be called the London Reuse Network.

The London Assembly claims that about 65,000 tonnes of household waste are thrown away in London each year. The new network will aim to divert as much of this as possible into being reused. This will include items such as books, fridges, furniture and other reusable household items.

Boris Johnson said that it is “common sense” to encourage people to hand in items that they no longer need but which can still be used by others. He hopes that they will be able to “slash the mountain of waste” that is currently sent to landfill.

Matthew Thomson, the chief executive of the London Community Resource Network, said that most of its members in London were small and so could only operate on a local level. The new network will allow them to combine their forces to achieve more.

Residents will all have one single number to phone, and wherever they live one of the social enterprises will be able to turn up and collect the items. There will also be a web portal for the whole city. The aim is that by 2015 the network will divert over a million items from being sent to landfill every year. Hundreds of jobs are also expected to be created.

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WRAP urges councils to work together to sell recyclables

July 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have urged local councils to work together to ensure they are getting value from the material they collect.

WRAP has also begun to investigate how to increase recycling rates for aluminium can and foil by working with the Beverage Can Makers Europe to analyse waste composition. This will include analysing what is stopping people from deciding to recycle as well as investigating the social demographics of those who choose to, and choose not to recycle these items, with the eventual aim of providing councils with more opportunities to increase the revenue they are able to raise through recycling.

As well as attempting to increase recycling rates to help councils generate extra revenue, WRAP’s director for local government services, Phillip Ward, has branded councils as ‘useless’ at getting value from the material they currently collect. To improve this, he has suggested that councils, which are looking for ways to increase their income, should look at working collectively to sell their recyclables, as many currently do when buying services. Ward’s suggestion is based on the example of 10 Hertfordshire councils who have already successfully generated extra revenue by joining together to send newspaper to Shropshire-based Newport Paper.

The increase in profits generated through this partnership has encouraged the councils to deepen their relationship by signing two year contracts with two UK companies, with the aim of sending all their plastic, cans, glass and Tetra Pak cartons to the two recycling firms, with the expectation of raising £560,000 a year in extra income.

Should the Hertfordshire experiment continue to produce success it appears likely that councils across the UK may adopt their methods.

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iPhone 3G most-recycled phone

July 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm

As with all things Apple, the iPhone 4, the latest version of the all-conquering smartphone, was released to a fanfare of hype and expectation last month. Desirable it may be, but priced at anywhere up to £600, it certainly doesn’t come cheap.

That leaves many fans desperate to get their hands on the new phone facing a conundrum: how to afford the latest must-have gadget?

The answer seems to be through recycling their old iPhones.

Sell My Mobile, the comparison site for recycling phones, has announced that the iPhone 3G was the most-recycled phone on the market during June 2010. This points to the fact that many fans of the iPhone are so desperate to get their hands on the latest incarnation of the model that they are ditching their old versions to raise a bit of extra cash to pay for it.

And it’s not an insignificant amount: the average amount that can be raised from trading in an old iPhone is £77.75, with highs of up to £170 reported. Sell My Mobile confirmed that the price will fluctuate depending on the buyer, so it is always best to look around for a good deal.

This is a great advertisement for the recycling of phones. Mobile phones consist of materials that mean they should not be thrown away to end up in landfill sites. The more people that start to recycle their mobile phones, the better it will be for the environment. And at the same time, as this proves, there are some real financial incentives for doing so.

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Fortnightly collections to be binned

July 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

The new coalition government would like to see local authorities making a return to weekly bin collections across the UK.

Communities secretary, Eric Pickles, wants to scrap fortnightly bin collections claiming that they are "unpopular and unhygienic". He has written to the Audit Commission asking it to reverse its policy.

Fortnightly bin collections were introduced so local councils could save money and to encourage households to recycle more waste, in order to reduce landfill.

But in a letter to the Commission Mr Pickles said he was concerned that some councils were being "marked down" for not adopting fortnightly collections.

He asked the independent watchdog to repeal guidance and "stop giving perverse incentives to local authorities to cut the frequency of rubbish collections."

However, the Commission says that it has "no power" to issue binding guidance to local authorities on rubbish collections and has "never issued" such guidance.

According to the Commission it has encouraged local authorities to review bin collections but said that it was up to locally elected members to decide their own policies including refuse collecting.

The new government wants to work with local councils to freeze council tax and help improve the frequency of refuse collecting.

There have been concerns about the health impact of fortnightly collections, with flies and maggots being attracted to rubbish that has been left to accumulate over a two week period.

But a recent study conducted by the government funded website looked at the health implications on fortnightly collections. It revealed that there was no evidence linking the frequency of waste collecting and any health impact on householders or refuse collectors.

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