Monthly Archives: December 2014

Europe Chokes on Recycling & Clean Air Pledge

A big deal is made about the waste hierarchy and that waste reduction and recycling are being given top priority. However, the reality is quite different.

waste-hierarchyWaste companies make more money from burning rubbish than they do from recycling it. Is it any wonder that recycling isn’t given priority?

Recycling rates have stalled and the European Commission is trying to go back on important legislation regarding recycling and clean air targets.

You can help ensure this important legislation goes ahead by signing this petition or following the simple link on the FOE web site to email the PM.

For more information please see the press release below from FOE titled Circular Economy Package

Stop the Incinerator are pleased to see this week that London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has been trying to get the incinerator issue back on the Mayor’s Agenda and below you can read the questions she has submitted.

Mayoral Questions – Jenny Jones

Proposed Sutton incinerator – lessons from London boroughs using Belvedere energy from waste incinerator and impact on recycling rates

London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has asked The Mayor of London:

‘Since the Belvedere Energy from Waste plant in Bexley went into operation in 2012 there have been substantial falls in recycling rates amongst the Western Riverside Waste Authority boroughs (Lambeth, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea).  Bearing this in mind, do you expect the recycling rates to also fall amongst the boroughs belonging to the South London Waste Partnership (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton) if the planned Viridor Energy Recovery plant in Sutton becomes operational?’

This is a formal written question, submitted for the 17th December 2015 Mayor’s Question Time. Normally, responses to written questions are received the week after.

In addition to this question, Jenny has asked related recycling questions:

 Western Riverside Waste Authority boroughs – recycling and incineration

Question No: 2014/5033 Jenny Jones

According to published data, the household recycling rates of the Western Riverside Waste Authority boroughs (Lambeth, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea) have fallen significantly over a two year period since the Belvedere Energy from Waste plant went into operation in 2012. Are you concerned by the detrimental implications of this on your waste hierarchy which prioritises reuse, recycling and composting, over incineration with energy recovery, which you identify as one of the least desirable waste treatment options?

Cost of different waste treatment options

Question No: 2014/5035 Jenny Jones

Your 2011 Municipal Waste Management Strategy specified that the typical total costs of a tonne of household waste landfilled cost £142; incineration £138; recycled waste from co-mingled collection £109 and; recycled waste from segregated collection £68. Will you update the typical costs, given changes in waste facilities in London since 2011?

Recycling rates fall

Question No: 2014/5031 Jenny Jones

The published data for 2013/14 revealed that, for the first time since the GLA was set-up, London’s overall recycling rate fell. Bearing this, and your 2015 recycling target in mind, will you call for an independent review of the effectiveness of your waste policies and your London Waste and Recycling Board?

Circular Economy Package

On Thursday 11 December, we learned that new EU president Jean Claude Juncker, is planning to abandon two packages which could prevent 58,000 premature deaths from air pollution each year by 2030, save £31-110bn, and create over 680,000 jobs.

The European Commission will decide on this on Tuesday 16th December! So there are only 72 hours to act.

Urgent Action – please contact your MP(s) this weekend (13-14 December), asking them to call on Prime Minister David Cameron to protect the Clean Air and Circular Economy packages.

As this briefing sets out, the Commission’s own estimates suggest that each year the Clean Air package would save £31-110bn and prevent as many as 58,000 premature deaths from air pollution by 2030. Designed to improve resource efficiency and air quality in Europe, the Circular Economy package would create over 580,000 jobs and generate net savings of £475bn.

The media are already picking up on this scandal, and Friends of the Earth is doing all we can to draw attention to this threat. We’re placing an advert in Sunday’s Independent and Monday’s ‘i’ newspaper, using Twitter and Facebook to spread the message, and lobbying key decision makers. We’re also corralling businesses, many of whom are as keen to see action on this as we are.

We hope that you will contribute to this effort by:

  • Getting in touch with your local MP(s)
  • Sharing the email action at
  • Helping us spread the word via Facebook and Twitter

Given the urgency, we recommend that you get in touch with your MP by picking up the phone, sending a personalised email, or attending a Saturday surgery session.

We hope that the briefing and talking points below provide you with what you need to do this. We believe that local Friends of the Earth groups are uniquely placed to raise this issue with MPs, so please prioritise that if you can.

I know it’s short notice and that we ask a lot of you, but I thought you would rather know about this and be given the opportunity to take action, than not.

Thanks for your time,

Becky & the Economics and Resource Use team

KEY TALKING POINTS (whether you’re talking to your MP or emailing them)

  • Most MPs will be contactable via their constituency office on Friday and Saturday, via their Westminster office on Monday, and via email. The House of Commons switchboard can help with any contact details: 0207 219 3000.
  • It would be helpful to contact all MPs. Probably Conservative MPs are more likely to get in touch with the Prime Minister directly, and members of other parties might ask their party representative to raise concerns with the PM.
  • Alert them to what is happening! The new EU president, Jean Claude Juncker, is planning to abandon the Circular Economy and Clean Air packages, designed to improve resource efficiency and air quality in Europe.
  • Explain the benefits of each of the packages:
    Clear Air package could prevent 58,000 premature deaths from air pollution by 2030, and save £31 – 110bn
    Circular Economy package would create over 580,000 jobs, and generate net savings of £475bn
  • Set out how scrapping these packages is a significant threat to the environment, people’s health, and the economy, as well as the future direction of Europe.

Speak to your personal experience and interest – have you, your family or friends experienced ill health from air pollution? Why do you think recycling or green jobs are important? What moves you to want to protect the environment?

Becky Slater

Campaign Assistant Economics and Resource Use Programme


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Stop the Incinerator protested at the South London Waste Partnership meeting this week using the ‘money over your mouth method.’  It symbolises how our voices and the truth have been silenced by money.  Profit before people and all that.

When presented with a collection tin, do you think any of the councillors on the committee donated to Stop the Incinerator?  Did any of then vehemently oppose the incinerator?

Watch to find out.

In this video, Councillor David Dean explains why the South London Waste Partnership are flawed.