More than 850,000 tonnes of waste is collected in North London each year – much of it preventable. But we can all do our bit to tackle the problem and reduce our environmental impacts, both as individuals and communities. That’s why the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) is currently offering grants of up to £15,000 to support innovative local projects that are helping people reduce waste or reuse existing resources.
Community groups and charities operating in seven north London boroughs – Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, and Waltham Forest – are encouraged to apply. “Community groups are well-placed to run initiatives in their community; they have lots of innovative ideas, and might spot opportunities or solutions that we hadn’t thought of,” says Martin Capstick, managing director of NLWA. “They can also draw on existing networks and inspire residents to be part of change.”
Established in 1986, the NLWA is responsible for sorting the recycling, and treating the non-recyclable waste, of much of north London, and it has long worked with communities to encourage recycling and promote a greener way of living.
“At the heart of our work is a mission to help prevent and reduce waste as well as encourage sustainability and a circular use of resources,” says Capstick. “We are proud to support community-based groups taking the initiative to tackle the problem of waste in north London through their projects. We’ve been very impressed with the variety and quality of applications in the past four years.”
Previous grant recipients include food poverty charity FEAST With Us, which used its payout to reduce COVID-related plastic and food waste; community action champions Groundwork London, where the funds helped people learn new waste-reducing DIY and cooking skills, and Hackney City Farm, which received a grant last year to make improvements to its popular zero-waste shop, Get Loose.
“We decided to apply for a few reasons,” says Volunteer and Education Manager Ken Hayes. “We needed to adapt the shop to be COVID-safe and feasible – the pandemic had restricted us to serving customers out of a hatch with pre-packed paper bags. The funds allowed us to install a second door and have a one-way system, which increased sales and helped us get back to minimal or no packaging. We also set up a collection point away from the shop, to provide the local community with contact-free shopping.”
Ultimately, the funding has helped increase the number of people getting their groceries packaging-free. Pounds urges anyone thinking of applying for a grant to go for it: “Working with the NLWA team has been great. They have been really supportive of the project and it has felt like a real partnership.”
Applying for a grant
Grant applications are open to any non-profit organisation with a project that takes place in one of the qualifying north London boroughs, and reduce the amount of collected waste in at least one north borough. Previous funding applicants and recipients are welcome to reapply.
The NLWA are particularly keen to hear from those working on green initiatives involving electrical repair and reuse; prevention of food waste; furniture and textile reuse; and the reduction of single-use plastics. “These waste streams contain relatively large amounts of embedded carbon – such as growing cotton, then transporting it to the UK as clothes,” explains Capstick. “Reduction can also save residents money – for instance, the average household wastes £500 worth of food per year.”
Visit nlwa.gov.uk/ourauthority/our-annual-grant-giving to find out more and apply for funding by noon on 7 May 2021.