85% of paper too wet to be recycled in January


About two-thirds of paper collected from Bromley residents for recycling is too wet to be recycled and is disposed of (i.e. incinerated) a Council officer announced at Bromley Council’s Environment Control meeting on 11th March.  In January 2021, a particularly wet month, 85% of paper collected was incinerated rather than recycled.  The cost to the environment can’t be quantified but is obviously alarming, the financial cost to the Council was £170,000. 

The issue of wet paper and card not being recycled is one that Bromley Lib Dems have been highlighting for several months.   We have asked the Council to work with us to find solutions.  

The first step is to make sure residents know that if their recycling gets wet it can’t be recycled – very few residents are aware of this.  

The longer term solution is to provide bins with fixed lids for card and paper to protect the paper from getting wet.  Our neighbours in Southwark and Bexley both provide such bins.   The current type of bin provided does not have a lid - previously lids were provided but these quickly got lost and blown away as they were not fixed.  

Bromley Council formally replied to our request for them to consider this style of bin as follows: “ … it is not clear that there would be an overall benefit considering the relatively low volumes of current rejections and the ongoing decline in volumes of paper.”

Given the startling rate of incineration recently we reject this response and will continue to press for a strategy of improved communication with residents, practical solutions and an acknowledgement that residents’ efforts to recycle their rubbish will be affected if the current rate of recycling continues to deteriorate. 


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