A Comparative Overview Of Recycling In London And Hamburg
The level of recycling for household waste is significantly higher in Hamburg than in London, yet the extent of materials recovery in both cities is well below technically achievable levels. This paper shows that the higher level of recycling in Hamburg can be accounted for by three main factors: a higher density of recycling facilities combined with the use of more sophisticated collection systems such as a dual-bin service for putrescible wastes; a unified administrative structure for waste management under direct control of an elected regional government; and finally, a system of proportional representation in local government allowing environmentalist political demands to be directly translated into public policy. Despite these differences however, both cities face difficulties with the expansion of recycling derived from the weakness of the secondary materials market, the lack of legislative control over the size and composition of the waste stream, the fiscal constraints on local government and the expense of comprehensive recycling programmes in comparison with alternative forms of waste disposal. This paper concludes that the high cost of recycling presents a fundamental political dilemma for sustainable waste management policy in developed economies.