London recycles 34.4% of waste—far less than the national average of 43.3%—which makes it the worst region in England for recycling. Ministers are under pressure to support EU targets of 55% of household waste recycled by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. London in particular will need a massive push to improve recycling rates.
Best London Boroughs for Recycling
The best five boroughs for recycling in 2019-20 were Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, and Sutton. These areas recycled at least 48.5% of waste, with Bexley topping the charts with a 54.2% recycle rate.
The best areas of London are still far behind other areas of England. For example, there are 11 other councils in England with recycle rates over 60%. The best local authority for recycling household waste in England, Three Rivers District Council, recycled 64.1% of household waste last year. This council already nearly meets the proposed 2035 recycling targets, putting them well ahead of schedule.
Most Improved London Boroughs
In the past year, Merton improved their household recycling rate by the most points—it improved from 38.5% in 2019 to 42.2% in 2020, an improvement of 3.7 percentage points.
Newham wasn't far behind, improving their household recycling rate by 3.4 percentage points from 16.9% in 2019 to 20.3% in 2020. (In fact, when looked at on a percentage improvement basis, Newham's rate had the highest percentage increase of 20%.)
Croydon, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea rounded out the top 5 most improved London boroughs.
|Most Improved||2019 Household Recycling Rate||2020 Household Recycling Rate||Better by|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||23.8%||25.5%||1.7%|
|Kensington and Chelsea||27.0%||28.6%||1.6%|
Worst London Boroughs for Recycling
The worst five boroughs in 2019-20 for recycling were Newham, Westminster City, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, and Barking. The worst four of these recycled less than a quarter of waste.
With an average rate of 34.4% across London and more than a dozen boroughs reporting recycling rates under 30% for 2019-20, London has a lot of improvement to make to hit recycling targets. To quantify the challenge ahead, London boroughs would, on average, need to gain 2.4 percentage points in terms of household waste that is recycled in each year between now and 2035 to meet a goal of 65% recycled by 2035.
Here is the data for London from www.gov.uk used to determine the best and worst local areas for recycling. The list is sorted alphabetically so you can find your local area and see how it ranks and compares to the rest of London and England.
|Rank in London (33=worst)||Rank in England (345 is worst)||Council||Total Household Waste (tonnes)||Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse||% of Household Waste Recycled|
|29||330||Barking and Dagenham||90,273||22,744||25.2%|
|22||313||City of London||3,958||1,145||28.9%|
|27||328||Hammersmith and Fulham||45,596||11,607||25.5%|
|4||98||Kingston upon Thames||60,940||29,623||48.6%|
|7||164||Richmond upon Thames||75,172||32,811||43.6%|
|23||315||Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea||51,978||14,868||28.6%|
|32||339||Westminster City Council||88619||18104||20.4%|