Peabody in the news

We’re working with Resource London to look at how we can encourage people living in flats to recycle more

According to figures released by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) in December 2017, London’s recycling rate has increased from 32% to 33% over the past year. This compares with an overall recycling rate of almost 44% in England.

Much of the difference in these rates of recycling is believed to be down to the number of people living in flats in the capital. On average flat-dwellers recycle half as much as those living in houses, yet purpose-built flats make up 37% of London’s residential accommodation – going up to 80% of households in some boroughs. The number of people living in flats in London is also on the increase.

New partnership

Peabody and Resource London have joined forces to try and understand why flat-dwellers recycle less and how this situation can be improved.

Dr Liz Goodwin OBE, Chair at London Waste and Recycling Board, said:
“We are excited to be working with Peabody, their residents and London boroughs to understand some of the complex barriers to improving recycling rates in purpose-built flats in the capital. The outcomes of this project will be used to develop a new approach to providing flats recycling services and inform waste policy.”

Left to right: Dr Liz Goodwin OBE, Chair at London Waste and Recycling Board; Thérèse Coffey, Environment Minister; and John Spillet, Commercial Director, Peabody

Together the partnership will carry out in-depth research with residents in flats to understand more and to ensure that their views and experiences are at the heart of any recommendations for improvements. This will involve spending time in residents’ homes to learn how recycling fits with people’s everyday lives, the practical details of what and when they recycle as well as what motivates them to do it.

Brendan Sarsfield, Chief Executive at Peabody, said: “This partnership is a great opportunity for us to talk to our residents about recycling services and find some practical solutions for achieving the capital city’s recycling targets. We look forward to collaborating with the team at Resource London as well as the London Boroughs to deliver this important and innovative project.”

London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, said: “The Mayor is fully committed to helping Londoners increase recycling and has set a target for London to achieve 65 per cent recycling in London by 2030 in his draft London Environment Strategy. This requires a vast improvement in the recycling rate from flats and this project, which was developed with LWARB, has the potential to make a significant difference.”

Environment Minister, Thérèse Coffey, said: “Recycling in urban areas is difficult – nowhere more so than London where the borough of Newham has the lowest recycling rate in the country at just 14%. This needs to improve and, having initiated this important research partnership between Resource London and Peabody, I look forward to seeing the results as quickly as possible to understand what more can be done and how government can help.

“As we have set out in our 25-year environment plan we are committed to improve the nation’s recycling rates.”

More information

The partnership will run until 2020 and later phases will include trying out different approaches on a number of inner London Peabody estates to see which interventions increase recycling the most. This is part of a wider £1 million programme of work focusing on improving recycling in purpose-built flats.

The results of this initiative could have impacts beyond London as ways of improving recycling in dense urban areas are being looked at across the country.