A £1.4 million three-year recycling and reduction plan for Lewisham has been agreed in a bid to achieve the “ambitious” targets set by the Mayor of London.

Local authorities have been asked to reach a 50 per cent recycling rate by 2025, while sending zero biodegradable or recyclable waste to landfill by 2026, and a 65 per cent rate of recycling by 2030.  

The current rate in Lewisham is 29.5 per cent. 

Sophie McGeevor, cabinet member for environment and transport, told mayor and cabinet she was “determined that Lewisham will play its part” in reaching the targets.   

“In 2019 Lewisham’s recycling rate has increased significantly to 29.5 per cent as our roll out of food waste recycling continues. 

“By 2025 Lewisham will be recycling 45 per cent of annual household waste and will reduce the annual household waste per household from 616 kilograms per year to 450 kilograms in 2025.  

“Reducing the overall amount of waste produced is vital in meeting the challenge of the climate emergency.  

“We must all change our habits and reduce the waste we produce,” she said

The targets will be “challenging”, according to the report on the plan, because the housing development planned for the borough includes a large number of flats.  

“It is generally accepted that recycling is more difficult for residents in flats,” it states.  

To achieve its objectives, the council will campaign to raise awareness about recycling among residents, increase publicity around garden waste services, look into rolling out food waste collections to schools and opening a reuse shop in Lewisham. 

A project plan is being put together for some estates across the borough to “address high levels of contamination and improve the quality of recycling sent for sorting”.  

The council itself has stopped ordering plastic cups, while staff have been supplied with reusable water bottles.  

Companies contracted by Lewisham will be asked to “commit to minimising emissions through intelligent logistics and by the use of electric vehicles and other low zero emission options”.  

Improvements to Landmann Way, the only centre for reuse and recycling within the borough, are currently ongoing.  

“The centre is undergoing improvements which include new containers and new signage.  

“An area is going to be considered for a reuse point where residents can browse items for re-use. If successful in creating the reuse site, it will create a reduction in the waste disposed of at the reuse and recycling centre,” according to the report.  

The three-year plan could potentially cost £1.4 million but concerns were raised in the report that costs could “significantly” increase when a new waste contract is procured next year.

Mayor Damien Egan said Lewisham has had one of the biggest increases in recycling in London.

“Which is something we should be really proud of … the fact that we’re moving up [in the league table] and residents are changing their behaviour is great,” he said.