Recycling is a priority at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival in London, one of the biggest street festivals in the world. One million people visit the area when the floats progress through the streets on 26-27 August and that is a real challenge for those dealing with the 300 tonnes of waste that result.
The carnival’s footprint spans two local councils but 85% is within the boundary of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Its operator, Suez UK recycling and recovery, has a dedicated workforce of some 200 people and deploys more than 30 vehicles to clear up each night when the revellers have gone home.
According to Suez manager Gary O’Hagan, one aspect of the operation that many people rarely appreciate is that no extra bins are laid on during carnival. ‘With thousands and thousands of people crowding through the streets there just isn’t room for more bins: it’s just so busy. So all of the waste food, packaging and so on goes straight onto the pavement. It means we are clearing up everything from the ground and there’s really no other way of doing it.’
Despite such challenges, Suez and the local authority are determined to recycle more. Last year, a partnership with Alupro and its Every Can Counts campaign netted more than 40 000 cans and Suez is looking to build on the initiative.
The organisers want this to be the greenest carnival so far so we will have a recycling island on the route to encourage people to bring their recyclable materials directly to us. There will be giveaway recyclable rewards such as hats and T-shirts branded with ‘I Love NHC’, made from recycled materials. ‘We’re also going to have five or six people with huge backpacks walking around encouraging people to put their cans in these packs as they go along. And we are having food collection points, with recycling bins given to those stall-holders willing to help out.’
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