Whitechapel Market is the first market in the country to recycle all the waste it generates.
Tower Hamlets Council launched this special new service at a special event today attended by television presenter, former borough resident and champion of the environment Oliver Heath.
Mr Heath helped the council mark the event by setting up a stall at the market to hand out information about recycling and re-usable shopping bags to passing market customers.
While many markets across the country collect cardboard and other recyclable materials, Whitechapel Market is the first to recycle 100 per cent of all the waste it generates – every last scrap of
waste from carrot tops to polystyrene, from fish heads to plastic bags.
Oliver Heath said: “I used to live in the Brick Lane so am really familiar with Whitechapel Market. All markets are notorious for generating rubbish and a market as large and busy as
Whitechapel in the East End is bound to create tonnes of waste.
“I am really pleased to support the council’s efforts to recycle it and prevent a significant amount going to landfill each week.”
A three month pilot scheme has worked so well that the new scheme is now official and the council is looking at ways to roll it out among the rest of the borough’s markets. The council runs
ten markets in total – the most of any authority in London.
Tower Hamlets Council’s Lead Member for Cleaner, Safer, Greener Councillor Abdal Ullah said: “We have pulled out all the stops to make Whitechapel Market the first to recycle 100 per
cent of the waste it generates.
“Each stall holder is responsible for putting recyclables in their allocated recycling bins and we are very pleased that they have fully supported what we are trying to do here.
“Markets by their very nature can create a lot of waste, when you take into account things like packaging and food products with a relatively short shelf life. We have introduced a number of
new ways that all this can be recycled and we are very excited that none of the market waste will be sent to landfill.”
The long-established Whitechapel market opposite the Royal London hospital on Whitechapel Road has more than 80 colourful stalls. It is famed for its wide range of produce including fruits,
vegetable, fish, spices, Eastern and Western clothing, fabric and electrical items and more.
The council has worked closely with the market traders to put new systems in place which have made this possible such as traders being allocated specific numbered recycling bins which are placed on
The bins are locked over night to ensure that they are not misused by local businesses and residents.
The market’s food traders have been provided with special food recycling bins for their waste, which is collected twice daily. This prevents contamination of the other recycling
materials which has proved a problem in the past.