because South Eastern Kings Cross, London, is a place where people live and work!

To all Neighbours

TO ALL NEIGHBOURS   Re Waste, recycling on ACTON ST, SWINTON St.


Dear neighbours,  

I hope you are all well.  As you may know, there are issues with our waste/rubbish management.  The council has sent out a letter to many in the area, which you may have seen.


Problems in the area started when Camden reduced the weekly collections from daily to weekly, whilst at the same time recycling became a must possibly about ten years ago.


I do not have to tell you that we all no longer have external waste bins, nor is there any local recycling station or container anymore. Recycling and longer storage of waste is also not part of the built infrastructure of our houses and flats at the moment. Storing waste indoors for a week until the Wednesday collection can be quite awkward and bulky, in spite of best intentions.



The recycling containers we had in Swinton Place were removed after they were misused week on week by some as a dumping ground for non-recyclable waste.  In addition, the containers in front of Kingsway College are also gone for the same reasons. 


The council has been issuing environmental crime notices in the area and continues to threaten people who left their waste on the pavement. I argued to the council that the criminalisation and issuing warnings and penalties are in fact not the solution, nor has it yielded the desired results. It does not make the problems go away.


It is a given, that quite a few of our flats are quite small. When they were designed, recycling and weekly collections were not minded, it was long before environmental concerns became important. Beyond the bulkiness in tight in-doors spaces, on staircases, waste may also become a fire hazard. People’s totally normal instinct is to wish to put the waste outside.  And yet outside there is nowhere to store it either, and the council is clear, that it does not want the waste besides trees or pavement, except in the night before and on the morning of collection. 



After some discussions, the director of Camden’s waste and environmental services has kindly offered (on his own account, to his credit) to come down to get a better understanding of the circumstances in our area and will meet me later in the week with a walk through Acton Street, Swinton Street and Gray’s Inn Road, possibly also the Kings Cross side of Kings Cross Road.  This is to consider what could be done to help us. Few in this day and age of environmental challenges would claim that they are not interested in helping to recycle, but it has to be something that is easy and convenient, not a personal threat. 


The council’s requirement is that we the residents recycle as much as possible and that we do not leave waste for days on the road. Ours is however, I hope you may agree with me, that it is not easy to keep rubbish indoors. This neighbourhood needs somewhere easy to put all the stuff. If that can be done in a tidy fashion that keeps our street nice, even better. We want the council to help us here.


The most elaborate and costly of considerations could be a local public waste and recycling station created below the street surface (similar to Amsterdam, for those who know), accessible by a residents’ code only. There may be other options and solutions as well. This is what the director is coming to us for and check what the problems are and possible viable solutions.


I wanted to share this with you, so you have an opportunity to feed in ideas, experiences and concerns.  This is about our street and all our experiences. Please feel free to contact me, and I will relay all comments and thoughts.

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