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Smell from waste and recycling centre FAQs

Your questions answered

Why is there a bad smell coming from the Waste and Recycling Centre (WRC)?

The WRC handles 3,500 tonnes of household waste every week, which does cause smells, though these are usually managed successfully. The occasional bad smell can happen when we clean drains and do routine maintenance at certain times throughout the year.

Why was the smell from the WRC worse than usual over the summer?

Putting it simply, the extremely hot weather. We know that there were similar issues at WRCs across the UK. Though we have an air filtration system at the WRC, and it is working well, foul smells are released when trucks are loaded with waste and this is very difficult to control.

What systems do you have in place to control the smell?

As well as our air filtration system, we have an odour neutralising system that sprays a harmless chemical to control the smells. We also clean our vehicles, our centre and our equipment thoroughly and regularly to help combat bad smells.

Is the smell worse because these systems have failed?

No, the systems have not failed but they have struggled to deal with the higher than normal temperatures over a long period of time.

What are you doing about the smell now?

We have consulted with London Energy and North London Waste Authority who are responsible for waste transfer from the WRC and we are working together to make improvements. We are having more air atomisers installed to help reduce the bad smells, we are cleaning equipment and the WRC more frequently in the hot weather.

What are you doing about the smell long-term?

We are carrying out a full audit of our waste transfer operations and will publish a report into the causes of the problem and where improvements need to be made. We are looking at our building and our equipment, how we work with our partners, the area and landscaping around the WRC. 

Is the smell and the chemicals used to control the smell, harmful to health?

No. The smell and chemicals we use to control the smells are not considered harmful. We know some residents are concerned about health issues, so we will be reassessing health implications in our full audit and will report back.

How can I keep up-to-date with progress?

We will keep the webpage updated and can email you if you are interested in knowing more. Email us wrc@islington.gov.uk if you would like to sign up to direct updates.

How can I raise my concerns directly?

If you have any other questions, concerns, comments or suggestions, please email or call 020 7527 2000 during office hours.

If it relates to overflowing bins, littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping, or any other street issues, you can report it using the Clean Islington app or through My eAccount.

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