Last updated: 28 September 2023

Next review: 28 September 2024

Consuming less, recycling more

2030 Vision: Waltham Forest is a zero-waste borough, following the “reduce, reuse, recycle” approach (in that order). Our residents make sustainable choices about what they buy, and businesses support repair and refurbishment. All residents have access to fresh healthy and sustainable food which is affordable.  


Key target: Increase recycling rates to 50% and reduce food waste by 50% per person by 2030 

Key Disruption for Climate Justice: Reduce food poverty and food waste. We will redistribute surplus food to minimise avoidable food waste, via the Food Distribution Hub to community provisions such as food banks, social supermarkets, pantries, and community cafes. Reducing food waste is good for climate but it also helps households save money and face the cost-of-living crisis.  

  • Action 1: Consult residents on introducing separate food waste collection and increasing recycling through fortnightly residual waste collection. Develop a new collection strategy based on the results of the consultation on improving and expanding the recycling collection system. We will combine any changes with new communication campaigns and a strategy for flats, where it can often be hardest to recycle.  

  • Action 2: Increase and support access to reuse and repair initiatives. To promote a culture of reuse and repair, we will help re-establish Repair Cafes by helping to find the skills that are in highest demand, like electricians. We will add to the network of water refill stations to cut the use of single-use plastic bottles and add to the materials that can be accessed for reuse at our Household Waste & Recycling Centres. 

  • Action 3: A Library of Things in every neighbourhood. We will build on the first Library of Things in the borough, and test and scale to ensure access for residents across the borough. The right model will differ by neighbourhood: they may be formal systems hosted in a physical location, like a Library, or less formal systems, for example organised through a resident WhatsApp group. 

Leading and Inspiring Collective Action

To keep the Council running, we purchase and consume a range of items, from food in canteens, to the desks in our offices and the buildings we operate. We can use our purchasing powers to ensure that we are procuring the most sustainable options. Through this, we can work with local suppliers across Waltham Forest and help them to create new low-carbon goods and services that others throughout the borough can access too.   

  • Council Leadership: Place climate at the heart of everything that the Council purchases. Help to create a culture shift to acknowledge the importance of climate. We will develop criteria and social value measures to integrate climate and carbon considerations into our procurement processes, helping us to work with local suppliers to develop low-carbon choices.  

  • Council Leadership: Eliminate single-use packaging from all Council operations. We will work with suppliers to cut the use of single-use plastics across all Council operations, including schools and other education settings in favour of reusable options, especially in our events and catering.  

  • Council Leadership: Showcase sustainable choices across Council-run events and destinations. Through the range of events that take place across the borough, like the ones that take place in Fellowship Square, we can ensure that sustainable options are promoted, such as meat-free food options. Dedicated events can also be hosted to highlight the climate emergency to encourage all residents to engage with the climate.