This London borough has the worst recycling rate in the UK

Some residents in an east London borough haven’t been doing their recycling properly. For shame.

In data published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) last month, Tower Hamlets has been revealed as having the worst recycling rates in not only London, but the whole country. 

According to the data, the household recycling rate in Tower Hamlets during 2022/23 was a measly 17.7 percent. In contrast, Bromley had the best household recycling rate in London at 48.7 percent. 

The government defines household waste as ‘broader than waste from households’, and includes street bins, street sweepings, the emptying of drains, parks and grounds waste, soil and ‘compost-like output’.

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said its recycling rate was low due to ‘a number of challenges that make it unique and difficult to compare to the rest of the country’. They explained that 9,000 new homes were built between 2019 and 2022 in the area, but the borough struggled to keep up with providing enough recycling facilities and infrastructure for the rapidly growing population. 

‘We have the fastest growing population and are the most densely populated place in England. Development is happening at a rapid pace,’ the spokesperson said. 

Tower Hamlets council said it would spend £2.1million on improving recycling facilities across more than 2,000 flats in the borough. The council is also working on schemes that will help flats above shops recycle more, and help schools separate their waste.

‘We have an ambitious plan to deliver a clean and green future for Tower Hamlets. We are committed to delivering improvements over the next five years, with initial investment in service redesign, service delivery and community engagement,’ the spokesperson said. 

They added: ‘We need everyone in Tower Hamlets – residents, businesses and visitors alike – to do their bit by recycling properly, and together we can improve our rate.’

Love local with Time Out 

Isn’t living in London great? As with all big cities, the capital has its flaws (as well as charms), and we’re here to keep you updated on all of it. London’s best (and worst) train stations for commuters have just been revealed, meanwhile, one London postcode has been named one of the UK’s coolest neighbourhoods. And this London borough is the UK’s worst place for potholes.

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