Camden Friends of the Earth recently wrote to local papers The Camden New Journal and The Ham & High about the recycling services in Camden. Here is our letter:


With regard to recent articles on Camden’s waste collections. Residents are complaining that their two rubbish collections per week are being changed to two recycling collections per week. It may be useful to have some objective information to allow us to understand how significant this change is.

Camden has recently removed its door-to-door recycling service for housing estates. People who live on estates will have to carry their waste long distances to recycling bring banks. Meanwhile people who live in houses have waste trucks turning up to their door up to four times a week, once for recycling (soon to be twice), once for green waste and twice for the remaining rubbish (soon to be once).

There is a clear inequality here. Camden Council’s Equality Policy clearly states “We [the Council] are committed to ensuring that our services are accessible to all and responsive by ensuring our customers are aware of our services and that we deliver our services in ways that are sensitive to customers’ needs.”

By supplying a huge amount of services to those in houses and removing them from those on estates, Camden is clearly in breach of its own policy. Its recycling service is now less accessible to estates residents.

I suggest that home owners recognise the favourable treatment they receive from Camden. Other Boroughs supply just one rubbish collection per week. Some councils are now collecting rubbish and recycling on alternate weeks – a significant difference to the four collections to Camden’s houses.

Interestingly, Camden Council could also be in breach of its own Environmental Policy, in which they state “We are committed to setting a good example to other organisations [and] will cut down on unnecessary travel”. By providing more waste services than are needed to households, the Council deploys extra trucks on the road, clogging up traffic and belching out carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

This certainly sets an example, which seems to be: remove environmental services from those with least money, and lavish it on those with most. This is a social injustice and an environmental injustice.


Graeme Maughan

Coordinator, Camden Friends of the Earth