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Restart Radio: Sifting through London’s recycling woes

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We all know that it’s possible to ease the guilt of throwing something away by telling ourselves it will be recycled. But who is in charge of the recycling system, who pays, and does it work?

This episode, Janet is joined by James Kirkham from the East London Waste Authority. We venture beyond the skip to see what happens to our gadgets after we throw them away.

As it stands, London’s boroughs each have their own collection strategies, for all kinds of waste including electronics (WEEE). Whether you find it easy to recycle your broken toaster or not depends on where you live. Some boroughs offer kerbside pick up, some have local drop off points, and some Londoners – like Janet – have to take two buses to get to their nearest recycling point.

It has been suggested that London have a uniform recycling system. But London’s boroughs have very different needs. Some have much bigger population densities and rates of consumption.

In a friendly way, we grill James about why rates of recycling can be so low in London, and what this might mean for the future as the population grows.

Perhaps the repair revolution we need is grounded in an awareness of just how challenging that magic word – “recycling” – can really be.

Links to things we discussed:

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