In the local election campaign here in Southwark Labour has pledged to double recycling. The last full year figures showed recycling had reached 21% in Southwark - so our pledge means that we will take it to 42%.
The national average last year was nearly 38%, up from 22.5% four years before. That's an increase of 15.5%. In contrast Southwark has only increased its' recycling rate by less than 10% in the same period. So not only are we far behind the national average, we are not keeping pace with the national rate of improvement.
We can do far more to make recycling easier, by offering food recycling; by recycling tetra-pak; and just by increasing the range of items which can be doorstep recycled. As a flat-dweller I know that it has been difficult to recycle in Southwark - even when you want to.
In contrast to Labour's clear pledge, the ruling Lib Dems are pledging to make the borugh's recycling rate more than ten times the rate achieved under Labour. I'm not sure what that means, but I'm guessing that it's a pledge to increase recycling to between 30% and 40%. In 2006 the Libs promised to increase recycling to 30%, but they have fallen way short. They appear to be apologists for the contractors Veolia, and once again do not demonstrate any leadership or passion on this subject.
They need to understand that in order to make things happen you need to show political leadership, even if that involves making tough decisions. But I know that in Southwark recycling is a clear priority, and a Labour Council will deliver on its' pledge.