Nearly two-thirds of Croydon waste is going to the incinerator

#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.

Rubbish service: council claims that its #Binmaggedon system would improve collections and recycling have been proven to be false

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.

Useful idiot: Stuart Collins spent millions imposing a system to suit the contractors

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.

It’s official: figures from the report going to next week’s SLWP meeting

“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.

Become a Patron!

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named the country’s rottenest borough in 2020 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine – the fourth successive year that Inside Croydon has been the source for such award-winning nominations
  • Inside Croydon: 3million page views in 2020. Seen by 1.4million unique visitors

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Business, Croydon Council, Environment, Fly tipping, Refuse collection, Stuart Collins, Veolia, Waste incinerator and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Nearly two-thirds of Croydon waste is going to the incinerator

  1. It’s not simply “waste” and “rubbish” that is going up in smoke in Beddington, but raw materials that might otherwise be made into things we need and use everyday: paper, cardboard, bottles, jars, cartons and a host of other things.

  2. CentralCroydon says:

    Meanwhile just over the border in Tandridge which doesn’t burn its waste, the recycling rate is 59.9%. Perhaps the SLWP should visit their neighbouring boroughs in Surrey to see how it should be done.

  3. Lee Malyon says:

    So I guess with this further report into how bad the failing waste/recycling service in Croydon is, Muppet Steve Iles will agree another £20 million uplift for Veolia!!

  4. Don White says:

    Is there a household waste collection service in Croydon? I haven’t noticed one since September. The only explanation I got from the Council, some months back, was that there’s a shortage of fuel. This might explain when the collection lorries are unable to stop as they drive past my property each week. Also, I was told there’s a shortage of drivers, which may be another reason why they can’t stop.

  5. Dave says:

    No wonder collections go straight to the incinerator when a neighbor refuses to recycle and puts out 3 bins of general rubbish each week. Then pleads with the binmen to remove them. Some stand their ground but the verbal abuse they receive if they don’t is unbelievable. So contaminated loads are not just down to the Veiola teams. Reported the neighbors to Croydon Environmental team on numerous occasions and they have visited once or twice but they are just ignored by these tenants. In our area Veiola have done a great job throughout the pandemic and we are very grateful for the service they provide.

  6. Eve Tullett says:

    Never seen as much fly tipping and overflowing bins as when I worked and lived in Croydon. And it’s not down to a lack of collections, Surrey only collect waste once a fortnight and it’s nothing like Croydon. There’s a whole culture of not caring about the local environment which needs to change.

  7. To tell the truth, it is cool that according to the latest SLWP figures, Kingston is the best performing of the four boroughs, with a 46 per cent recycling rate because recycling needs to take quite a paramount place in our life. It is truly sad that council’s rubbish contractors Veolia and Viridor are creating more pollution because it indicates that we slowly, but surely strive for destroying our environment and the situation may have a negative outcome. I think that it is really important to take necessary measures in order to prevent this and significantly change the state of affairs. It is absolutely true that recycling will help us tackle the climate and ecological emergency because it has a global role in our world which we sometimes underestimate. And it is really important to confirm words with deeds.

  8. Jim+Duffy says:

    The best recycling rate in Europe is 85% in Contrina, an area in Italy serving over half a million people. And they do not burn any waste. They clean the leftovers so there’s no methane producing food waste mixed in then landfill it. It’s an in approach that could be replicated here with a recycling site in each borough. Shut down the incinerator!

Leave a Reply