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London answers your questions…

A couple of weeks ago, we asked you lot for your questions to put to Simon Mills – the sustainable development coordinator for the City of London Corporation.

Colin Says:
Successful recycling is not about diverting waste from landfill, the bottleneck in the process is encouraging customers to buy products made from recycled material in preference to virgin materials. What is the City of London doing to encourage a ‘buy recycled’ policy?

Dear Colin, thanks for your question, you are quite right, reducing the amount of waste we generate, and the purchase of recycled goods are essential to an integrated waste management system. To this end I won’t go into detail about our recycling systems ( suffice to say that we take it so seriously that our street cleaners separate and recycle street litter and we even wash the arisings from mechanical street sweepers to separate grit and aggregate, which is recycled for use on the city’s highways!)

With regards to purchasing recycled, the City is a signatory to level 2 of the Mayors procurement code and seeks to maximise the amount of recycled products it purchases. Over the last 18 months, a number of training events and seminars have been run for purchasing managers within the City of London Corporation in order to raise awareness of this issue. For further information see the following website;

We also offer advice to businesses on the purchase of recycled products through the Clean City Awards, which provide free, expert, impartial advice on setting up business recycling systems.  Details are provided on charities and not for profit organisations that will take materials for reuse or recycling at minimal or no costs to companies. For further information see the following website;

The City of London is also working in partnership with Lambeth Council, Southwark Council, the City of Westminster Council, Cross River Partnership and Elephant Jobs in a project for the recycling and reuse of redundant IT equipment. The project, known as the REALISE IT Network, aims to reduce the amount of IT equipment disposed of to landfill and increase access to IT equipment in the project areas. In order to fulfil these aims, a network has been set up that allows businesses to donate their redundant IT equipment to the project and thus create a pool of IT equipment that voluntary and community sectors, schools, start-up businesses and individuals have access to. For further information see the following website;

Finally, as you probably know we run three of London’s wholesale markets and we have implemented a waste management programme across all of them This has resulted in;

An increasing in the recycling rate at Spitalfields Market from zero to 30% in 9 months- with a target of  40% by December 2007.

Consultation with suppliers at Smithfield to try to lesson the amount of waste sent to the Market with Produce.

The Recycling of polystyrene fish containers at Billingsgate.

A trial the use of recycling containers/bins on site – clothing/bottles/newspapers and magazines in order to decrease rubbish dumping and fly tipping.

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