Southwark Recycling Plant

On 30th November, a group of MPs and peers visited Veolia’s integrated recycling facility, off the Old Kent Road in Southwark, London. The visit was organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG). Attendees included Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Dr Alan Whitehead MP.

As part of its 25-year waste management contract with Southwark Council, Veolia has constructed a £60m Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF). Operational since 2012, the state-of-the-art facility is able to process all of Southwark’s household waste and recyclables helping to significantly improve recycling rates and reduce the impact that the borough’s waste has on the environment

The parliamentarians visited the site to learn more about how advanced waste management techniques can revolutionise the way we go about improving recycling rates, as well as reducing the impact that waste has on climate change through its greenhouse gas emissions.

The facility also plays a role within the wider ‘circular economy’, which could, according to research by Veolia and Imperial College London, create 175,000 jobs and £29bn for the economy.

Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said: 

“It was a pleasure to visit the Veolia facility in Southwark and see its incredibly efficient recycling system. It’s a state of the art facility and just shows how much more of our rubbish we could save and recycle. When we recycle and reuse waste, everyone benefits.

It saves money, resources, time and helps the planet. Recycling rates have increased since the millennium to over 40% but there’s still much more we can do. The Southwark facility should be a model for other local authorities to copy and recycle a far higher proportion of their waste.”