#BINMAGEDDON: Official figures show that the council’s rubbish contractors Veolia and Viridor are creating more pollution. By our environment correspondent, PAUL LUSHION
Official figures published this week show that 63 per cent of Croydon’s rubbish is being sent straight to the Viridor incinerator at Beddington Lane.
The shocking figures come ahead of a meeting of the South London Waste Partnership scheduled for next week. They cover the three-month period to September this year.
Overall, across the four boroughs in the service-sharing SLWP – Kingston, Merton, Sutton and Croydon – a recycling rate of 40 per cent was achieved.
Croydon, though, is managing to recycle only 35 per cent of its waste – down from 48 per cent two years ago.
The breakdown of the figures show a worrying downward trend, and confirms the fears of many environmental campaigners that by commissioning the polluting incinerator, it would inevitably lead to ever greater amounts of waste being burned.
This is a bad situation made worse because incinerator operators Viridor have a separate multi-million-pound SLWP contract to manage the partnership’s recycling, green and food waste, an obvious conflict of interest which appears to have escaped the atttention of the four councils.
Viridor receives £40million per year from the four south London boroughs to burn their rubbish.
According to the latest figures, of the 35 per cent of Croydon’s waste that escapes landfill or the incinerator, just 17 per cent is recycled, 11 per cent is going as green waste (which Croydon residents have to pay extra to have collected), and 7 per cent is food waste.
As recently as September 2019, Stuart Collins, then the council’s deputy leader, was boasting of a 48 per cent recycling rate, up by 9 per cent from 2018.
Croydon’s recycling target is 50 per cent.
In July 2019, the council under the now-discredited leader Tony Newman had “declared a climate and ecological emergency”, and claimed to be backing more green initiatives. It set the borough a target of 2030 in which to become carbon neutral. This, despite having agreed a £250million, 25-year contract to burn the borough’s rubbish at Beddington that will run until 2040.
Back then, Collins, Newman’s “useful idiot”, claimed that the apparent recycling rate improvements were a success of the #Binmageddon he had inflicted on the borough, a system introduced at the behest of rubbish contractors Veolia. Collins and the council maintained that the new bins and collection days “made the system more efficient across Croydon and neighbouring boroughs”. In fact, it has made the system cheaper to implement for the contractors.
What Collins described as a “phenomenal increase” in recycling rates was “thanks to the dedication of our residents”. That, at least, was true, since the system requires much of the sorting to be conducted at source, by the residents.
“With a little more work over the coming year there’s no reason Croydon couldn’t recycle the highest proportion of waste across London. Recycling as much as possible will help us tackle the climate and ecological emergency Croydon and the rest of the globe faces,” said Collins, remarks which today have been proven to be 100 per cent rubbish.
There have long been questions over the way Veolia rubbish truck crews handle carefully-sorted recycling, and how much of that is deemed to be “contaminated”, and instead of being sent to the recycling centres is diverted to the incinerator’s furnaces.
Today, with the streets of Croydon rarely swept, Collins’s favoured “Big Belly Bins” full to overflowing and left unemptied, and reports of fly-tips routinely ignored by council staff, Fisher’s Folly’s propaganda bunker has been remarkably silent about the latest SLWP recycling figures.
According to the latest SLWP figures, Kingston is the best performing of the four boroughs, with a 46 per cent recycling rate.
Croydon’s 35 per cent recycling rate in the second quarter of this year (July to September) matched the performance in the first quarter of 2021.
Between July and September, a total of 107,000 tonnes of residual waste was sent to the Beddington incinerator, representing 58 per cent of total waste across the four boroughs.
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