Organisations Partner Up to Research Why People in London Flats Don’t Recycle

The waste reduction organisation Resource London and the housing association Peabody have joined forces to look at barriers to recycling in flats in urban areas to see if they can help improve the recycling rate in London.

Flats make up 37% of London’s total residential accommodation, though in some areas of the capital, flats make up 80% of dwellings, and in general, people who live in flats recycle half as much waste as people living in houses.

London’s overall recycling rate has increased from 32% to 33% in the past year, but this is poor compared to a nationwide rate of 44%.

resource london

Why is London’s recycling rate so low?

There are more flats in the capital, and recycling can be more difficult where there is no storage space for recycling bins, or where access for refuse vehicles is tough. London needs to act now; nearly all new build properties in London are flats and by 2030, nearly half of all London properties will be flats.

What will the project achieve?

The joint work between the two organisations will be used to develop new ways to provide recycling services to people living in flats. In-depth research will be conducted where residents will be asked what barriers they face when it comes to recycling, what they recycle, and what motivates them to recycle, and this will form the basis of recommendations for where improvements could be made.

This work is part of a wider project that Resource London are doing to learn about the recycling behaviours of people living in flats, and then using what they’ve learned to offer practical solutions. They will then try some of the solutions out on several London estates to see which interventions are the most effective at increasing recycling.

flats recycling

Far-reaching results

The outcomes of this project could be used to put recycling solutions in place across the country where there a high number of residents living in flats and recycling rates are low. The project is starting in London as densely populated areas tend to have the poorest recycling rates. For example, the London borough of Newham only recycles 14% of its rubbish. The results will then be passed onto the government, where decisions will be made on what can be done better to improve recycling rates as part of their 25-year environmental strategy.