223 tonnes of waste in the street

Not A Minute To Waste

Every year us Londoners toss away a colossal two million tonnes of waste. That is such a vast volume that if dumped in the River Thames, it would stretch for 273 miles – that’s 57 miles longer than its entire length*.

But why does it matter?

Most people aren’t comfortable with the idea of being wasteful. But the real issue is not what we do with our waste, but what it was before it was waste. Every single thing we put in the bin came from somewhere. It started as raw materials, before being processed, manufactured, and transported. All of that requires energy, and that means carbon emissions which are causing global warming.

Our waste is part of a much bigger, global problem of over-consumption. 

What can be done about it?

It is time for all of us – government, business, and individuals – to wake up to the link between unsustainable consumption, the waste it generates, and its real and devastating consequences for the Climate Emergency. 

However, here at NLWA we believe it’s not about doing without: it’s about making better choices.

Business must design out waste from the beginning of a product’s concept, use recycled materials in manufacturing, and make their supply chains carbon neutral. Governments must support business in this purpose, through investment, taxation and legislation.

What does NLWA do with your waste?

NLWA manages waste in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This means turning recyclable materials into new items, reusing items left at our reuse and recycling centres (RRCs), and burning residual waste for energy production.  

To find out more, watch our videos below about what happens to north London's general waste, recycling, and items collected at our RRCs.

Choose your change

In just one hour in London, we produce 223 tonnes of waste, yet it only takes a minute to make a change. Together, we have the power to make a massive difference. Here are six things you can do to help heal our one and only planet. Why not choose one or two, do all six or find your own, and make your pledge public on social media with the #NotaMinuteToWaste hashtag.


*with a width of 100 metres and a depth of 0.5 metres   

Published date
1 November 2021