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SMS answers London's recycling SOS

Londoners need to recycle more, and a handy new mobile service could help

An e-government recycling service has been set up by London Mayor Ken Livingstone in an attempt to encourage more people to recycle.

The service is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK and will enable residents in London to request details of when their recycling is collected or where their nearest recycling facilities are, by texting RECYCLE and their full postcode to the number 63131.

Users will receive an SMS message containing a direct link to the user's local recycling helpline so residents in each London borough can order a recycling box or bag immediately if they have not got one.

The text service has been built by Incentivated Limited and integrates the company's online mobile marketing platform with the Recycle for London database of up-to-date recycling information across all the Greater London boroughs. The service is available on all the mobile networks.

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, said technology was instrumental to his recycling campaign. "With so many of us relying on our mobiles, the new text service is a quick and easy way to make sure you're putting the right things out for recycling on the right day, or taking them to the right place."

Livingstone claimed the text service would provide a modern answer to the recycling problem in London. At present, only 13.2 percent of people living in the capital recycle rubbish and household items.

Mobile phone text messaged are now being used by the government for a range of different services. A virus and alert IT security service for home PC users and small businesses was launched by the government in February, and a mobile tracking system which aims to cut passenger waiting times for London buses was set up in 2003.