Don't let our future go to waste

Consultation aims to bring together Tower Hamlets to improve our environment and change the way we view and treat waste

A major consultation has been launched in Tower Hamlets to help reduce waste, increase recycling and improve air quality – from the manufacturer through to the end user - writes towerhamlets

From single use plastics poisoning our oceans, to air pollution damaging cognitive health; we collectively share responsibility to arrest the decline and ensure a habitable planet for future generations.

Like everywhere else, in Tower Hamlets we must re-evaluate how we reduce, reuse and recycle waste and clean our environment.

The council has published a draft waste strategy called Don’t Let Our Future Go To Waste which it is consulting on.

Over the coming weeks, the council will be putting on interactive public consultation events where people can learn more about the challenges we face and what we can do to make a bigger difference

It will culminate in a waste summit in early October with residents, businesses, community groups and others talking about some of the issues facing the borough which include:

In 2016/17, the council collected 116,704 tonnes of waste, the weight of 9,226 routemaster buses.

Over 70% of waste is not currently recycled.

A recent Local Government Association study found that two thirds of plastic pots, tubs and trays are non-recyclable.

40% of Tower Hamlets’ residents live in areas that exceed legal pollution levels.

Litter is the third biggest concern among residents, yet continued cuts to council budgets simply mean that cleaning cannot keep up.

With population levels projected to increase over the next decade this is an issue that can only be solved by working together to change the habits of the council, our residents, business and also supermarkets and manufacturers significantly.

Over the past year, Tower Hamlets Council has been running campaigns to raise awareness and change habits (including Love Your Neighbourhood, the Big Clean Up and Breathe Clean) and we are committed to improving information and services for residents and businesses to help them recycle more, waste less, improve the area and start treating waste as a resource.

By participating, residents and businesses can talk about the barriers preventing them from doing more and suggest ways that we can all work together to shape the future not just of waste management, but also the entire neighbourhood and planet.

For example there could be better recycling provision on housing estates, more facilities to recycle food and lobbying of supermarkets and manufacturers for plastic free aisles and to work with the council to only use plastics that can easily be recycled.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, comments:

“As Mayor I’m committed to cleaning up our streets and increasing our recycling rate.

"Collecting the bins and keeping our neighbourhoods clean are key frontline services the council provides. This waste strategy is about getting this right but also about how we waste less so we are a cleaner and greener borough.’’

Councillor David Edgar, Cabinet member for Environment and Air Quality said:

“We all have a responsibility for managing waste. This draft waste management strategy presents our ideas about how we can improve services andrecycle more.

“I would urge residents to take a few minutes to complete our online survey and tell us how they think the council can help reduce the impact of waste on the environment.”

The council is holding a series of public events in September where residents and businesses can find out more about the support available for recycling and reducing waste:



6 September – 12-3pm

BethnalGreen gardens

12 September – 11am-2pm

Whitechapel market

22 September - 10.30am-2.30pm

Chrisp Street market

26 September – 6-8pm

Ecology Pavilion; Mile End Park

Residents can participate in the consultation until 5 October 2018.

To find out more contact [email protected]
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