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‘Bizarre’: Islington’s recycled textiles are shipped to Germany in 40ft ocean freight containers

PUBLISHED: 11:30 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:00 24 January 2020

Stock image of a cargo ship. Picture: PA Images

Stock image of a cargo ship. Picture: PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

Islington’ sole opposition councillor says it’s “bizarre” that shoes and textiles recycled in the borough are shipped to Germany to be processed.

The Green party's Cllr Caroline Russell spoke after learning SOEX UK, contracted by Islington Council, transports recycling from the borough to its plant in Europe using "40ft ocean freight containers".

International shipping produces "nearly one billion tonnes of CO2 emissions" annually, according to Tristan Smith of UCL Energy Institute.

Cllr Russell also highlighted statistics showing household recycling rates in Islington dipped by 0.5 per cent in 2018/19 compared with the previous year, from 29.5pc to 29pc.

Cllr Russell said: "We should develop this kind of capacity in this country. It's bizarre to be shipping stuff to Europe to do it. I can understand why they would be doing it if there are good facilities in Germany, but it underlines the problem with London's waste.

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"There is a massive problem because of the lack of a waste reduction target.

"That needs to be developed as we look at dealing with the climate emergency."

The mayor of London's press team didn't respond to our request for comment.

SEOX UK says it has more than 40 years experience in the recycling field, and operates one of the largest sorting plants in Europe. More than 90pc of textiles are recycled or used as cleaning rags, with everything else used to generate thermal energy.

An Islington Council spokesperson said: "SEOX UK are well located for processing fabric and clothing that can be reused and recycled, as the main markets for this are eastern Europe and further afield."

They added: "We have a detailed four-year plan to reduce waste and increase recycling, and provide residents with comprehensive, weekly recycling collections for a wide range of materials, over and above the requirements set out by the mayor of London."


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