Londoners told to recycle at Christmas

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has urged Londoners to make a concerted effort to recycle this Christmas, saying that "we need to stop thinking of rubbish as 'waste' - it is in fact a resource."

Official figures from City Hall say Christmas comes with a 10% rise in refuse.

“This is a time when we produce acres of extra waste,” the Mayor told the London Waste and Recycling Board on Thursday 11 December.

Chairman of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, Cllr Daniel Moylan, added: “the capital’s boroughs will be doing everything in their power to make it as easy as possible [for residents to recycle].”

But a spokesman for Islington council, where Johnson lives, said that they “don’t really do anything special” except for providing a Christmas tree mulching facility.

“We usually send everything to a mechanical recycling facility in Greenwich. I expect we’ll just chuck more at it.”

The spokesman confirmed that Islington would not be laying on any extra collections for the festive season, adding that there would be no collections on public holidays.

Residents would be able to leave out extra recycling in plastic bags.

Mike Webster, of UK charity Waste Watch, said “There’s a huge bump in waste at this time of year, mostly coming from areas like glass and a huge amount of food waste.”

“We would encourage local authorities to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle.”

Waste Watch say the UK typically throws away 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper as well as a billion Christmas cards every year.

Johnson is the first Mayor of London to also Chair at the Waste and Recycling Board. When he accepted the Chair in May 2008 he promised to “champion recycling to make London a world leader”.

Duncan Brown

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