London Mayor, Boris Johnson, alongside the London Councils is backing the ‘Just One Thing’ campaign aimed at increasing the rate of recycling waste materials in the city to 50% by 2020. The campaign encourages every Londoner to take a keen look at what they currently recycle and what they throw in the bin, and find “just one thing’ they could do differently to make a difference.
The Mayor’s Goals
Boris Johnson has set goals for town halls to recycle half the waste they collect in the next four years, but some boroughs are lagging woefully behind. Just across the capital, only 34 percent of the household waste is recycled. He claims, “This is an excellent way to boost the environment and save money, so let’s not waste any time and get into the habit of recycling more of our everyday items.”
Close to two million plastic bottles of water is consumed in the city daily. If all these were recycled, it would boost the capital’s recycling rate by almost one percent. Also, research has found that if every Londoner recovered one more plastic bottle per week, then the city would save a lot of energy. Probably, enough to power Wembley for at least two years! What the campaign aims to put across to every Londoner is that just a little more effort in their everyday activities could make a significant impact.
Facing Up to the Truth
Another poll has found that one in eight Londoners exaggerate how much they recycle to save face. However, two-thirds of people wished they could do more to help the capital go greener with young Londoners more keen to reduce waste. But even though young Londoners have the most enthusiasm, only one in ten 18 to 34 year olds openly confessed to not knowing what or how to recycle at home.
Marcus Gover, a member of the Resource Board and director at WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), said, “As a nation, we’re recycling more than ever, but many are confused by what they can and cannot recycle. Having a strong, clear message in Recycle for London will help many more Londoners recycle.”
As part of the campaign, Recycle for London has shed some light on the five common attitudes toward recycling, offering advice and material – Go, Greener, Re-cynical, Penny Pragmatist, Everyday Helper or Evangelical. So if you want to discover your ‘just one thing’, then you could visit www.recycleforlondon.com and take the quiz.
Cigarettes and Chewing Gum
The campaign in regards to visual behavioural change has seen the placement of giant cigarettes and voting ashtrays in Westminster’s streets. This action was taken to draw awareness to London’s ongoing waste problems caused by cigarettes and chewing gum- the two items that are responsible for three quarters of the total observed litter.
Behavioural campaign organisations, Chewing Gum Action Group, also recently tried to influence behavioural change as the grey pavements on Europe’s busiest shopping street were transformed with bright colored circles to highlight the amount of chewing gum dropped on the ground. Also, London’s booming population has been an important contributing factor in the rise of waste produced in the capital, but it leaves a huge potential for waste-to-energy projects and initiatives.
Recently, Westminster City Council collected around 200 tonnes of waste from Notting Hill Carnival in August! If this is converted correctly to energy, it could generate energy to power 80,000 showers. In short, it would take a family of six, twenty-four years to utilise all this power. To get the entire capital to embrace the green economy, Biofuel company, Bio-Bean has recently announced that it would be lighting thousands of households across London. They intend to use only waste coffee beans from local baristas in making this possible (see our previous blog on this).