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Report – Estimates of London household waste composition

Version 1.0 – December 2023

This report incorporates data from 22 of London’s boroughs spanning 4 years (2018-2022) and provides indicative estimates of household waste composition for London.

Produced in collaboration with Resource Futures, the report identifies a few key data points:

  • The largest single material (by weight) found in London’s bins is food. The data shows that 27% of waste overall is food waste, with 19% being food that could have been eaten.
  • There is a significant gap in capture rates between kerbside and communal waste collection systems, with 21% of the material that could have been recycled being put in the wrong (residual) bin at kerbside properties versus a much higher 51% of recyclable items from communal properties.
  • Plastic film makes up around 7% of London’s residual waste, which equates to 114,000 tonnes of material per year, or the equivalent of 5,000 carrier bags per household per year.

No new fieldwork has been carried out for this project, made possible through collaboration with London’s waste authorities, but it analyses a huge amount of existing data including waste composition from 6,000 households living in flats in the capital – giving the most comprehensive information on flats-related waste currently available.

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