An incentive scheme has helped Hackney to achieve its highest ever rate of household recycling.
In September, recycling across the borough hit 28.95 per cent, up from around 25 per cent last year, when the council launched the government-funded Hackney Recycling Rewards inititative.
The three-year project to boost sluggish recycling growth has been encouraging residents to go green by offering discounts and vouchers for local shops and activities in exchange for sorting their rubbish.
Cabinet member for neighbourhoods, transport and parks Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “We have looked at projects already in place in other boroughs and have adapted our scheme so that the value of the rewards in Hackney is the highest yet to be given by any council.
“We will continually monitor the results and work to ensure residents remain engaged with the scheme throughout its life.”
Hackney’s recycling is overseen by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), along with six other London boroughs.
NLWA wants to achieve a 50 per cent recycling rate by 2020, but has not set Hackney a specific goal.
The council’s own target is an average rate of 28.8 per cent by 2019, when the rewards scheme comes to an end.
In its first year, the average rate climbed to 27 per cent, and a spokesperson for the Town Hall said it is happy with the progress so far.
One of the biggest obstacles to further engagement with recycling in Hackney is the high number of flats and housing estates, which are ill-equipped to deal with waste separation.
Cllr Demirci acknowledged this issue, saying: “Most estates and blocks were built before recycling services existed, with no space for separating and storing recycling.”
Hackney Recycling Rewards is funded by a £637,000 grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
According to a Town Hall spokesperson, about a third of this budget has been spent so far, with just over 28,000 Hackney households signing up to the scheme in its first year.
The council’s bid for this funding stated that 110,000 households in the borough would have the chance to be rewarded for recycling.
The Town Hall also promotes recycling by offering food waste collections, free bin liners and co-mingled collections for housing estates.
A fresh push to attract more members to the Recycling Rewards project is planned for early next year, when residents can expect to receive information in the post explaining more about how to get involved.