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Theme / Circular Economy

We need to reduce waste sent to landfill and reduce consumption of natural resources. All of this waste is generated by how we live and work. The borough’s emissions from the disposal of waste were 4 kt CO2 in 2019, 0.6% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. This is a relatively small fraction, but reducing waste and creating a circular economy does much more to reduce emissions in other parts of our lives, such as the emissions from manufacturing new plastics and transportation of products.

When we think about the knock-on effects from not reducing our waste, these effects are called Scope 3 emissions, Whilst not accurately measured by us, they are definitely a large proportion of our carbon footprint.  

Changes which can be made to reduce both direct and indirect emissions from waste include: 

  • minimising the production of waste, especially food waste – food and drink contributes around 10% of London’s consumption-based emissions
  • promoting reuse of products, like refilling washing up liquid bottles, instead of throwing them away
  • recycling everything which can be recycled, including paper, plastics and metals
  • increasing the operational efficiency of waste collection rounds 
  • using products (including food) which are lower carbon in their manufacturing. This includes using local food and reducing consumption of foods responsible for significant emissions, such as red meat and dairy.  

Progress so far: 

  • the Council has consulted residents on proposals to reduce waste, improve recycling and cut the use of single use plastics in its operations
  • in September 2020, the Council agreed to: fortnightly collections of general waste, no longer collecting side waste, a new contamination policy and no longer providing clear recycling sacks to properties able to store wheelie bins
  • The Royal Greenwich Good Food in Greenwich network is a collective of organisations who work to reduce food waste, support local food growing and promote diets which are lower carbon, and activities that promote healthy eating.