Sustainable Southwark

Recently talked to Mary Morrisson Head of Sustainable Services at Southwark Council. I’ve been doing a series of interviews with local sustainability gurus. Our discussion was mostly about recycling – Mary told me that only five years ago, only 3% of waste was recycled in the borough. Having already exceeded their National government targets, they have now set themselves an incredibly ambitious ultimate target of 50%, which would put them at the forefront of recycling in the UK.

Last year, a 25 year contract was awarded to Veolia Environmental Services to build state of the art facility, to sustainably deal with all Southwark’s waste. There will also be a mechanical biological treatment plant at the old gasworks site on the Old Kent Road. This deals with mixed waste – separating out recyclable materials such as metals and glass. The biological element removes moisture from the waste, before breaking down the organic, biodegradable components by composting or anaerobic digestion to produce soil improver or bio gas for fuel.

Southwark also has the largest social housing stock in London. Much of the effort has been in actually ensuring people who live in multi storey accommodation are able to recycle too.

The regeneration of the Elephant and Castle area too is a massive project, which will cost in the region of £36m. They are aiming for a zero increase in carbon emissions despite a 270% increase in floor space. And there are plans to supply green water, as well as employ renewable energy sources and combined heat and power.

A very likable interviewee, with a lot on her plate by the sound of it. I’ll link to the piece when it’s published online.

By Peter Kenny

I lead a double life. Identity #1. A writer of poems, comedy plays, dark fiction and the odd libretto. Identity #2: A marketing outlier, working with London creative agencies and my own clients as a copywriter and creative consultant.

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