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‘Polluter pays’ threat to London’s free evenings

A London council is getting tough on the litter caused by distribution of free evening papers. Westminster City Council is threatening to ban them if the publishers of London Lite and thelondonpaper refuse to tackle the problem.

The council, whose area includes the West End, has increased the number of recycling bins to 131 but estimates another 300 would be need to handle the volume of waste. The cost would be £500,000 over the first two years.

It estimates that a quarter of all waste in the West End is free newspapers and cannot be recycled because it gets mixed up with other street rubbish. The council has the power to ban the newspapers under a law which was introduced in 2005, according to the Press Gazette.

Both papers say they are working with the council to resolve the problem. The council says it is an established principle that “the polluter pays”.

That is a new factor in newspaper economics. Other London boroughs are expected to follow Westminster’s lead.

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