Barnet council has confirmed it will discontinue separate collections for food waste in the borough, which it said cost around £300,000 per annum.
The proposal was one of a number of measures approved at a meeting of the council’s environment committee earlier this week (5 June).
As part of the changes, which will come into effect in September 2018, food waste will instead be disposed of in the black residual waste bin and sent to an energy from waste facility.
According to a report for the committee, “many difficulties” have been reported to the council about the food waste collections. And, despite efforts to promote the separate collections, uptake from the public of the service has been low.
“Based on a survey undertaken in 2015 only 25- 30% of residents participated on a weekly basis in this service. The tonnages have not increase significantly since that date,” the report notes.
Separate food waste collections were introduced by the authority in 2013, as part of a new collections system. Food waste is currently collected weekly and sent to an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility operated by Tamar Energy – recently acquired by Biogen (see letsrecycle.com story). Collections are carried out by the council’s own trading company – The Barnet Group.
The local authority revealed that the additional collection cost of the separate weekly food waste service is £300,000 per year, for around 5,000 tonnes of food waste. This equates to £60 for every tonne collected.
Chairman of the environment committee, Councillor Dean Cohen, said: “We know that refuse and recycling collections are of huge importance to residents in Barnet. That’s why we will continue to provide weekly waste collections. We are also looking at how we can continue to provide a high-quality service, in the most efficient way.
“The proposals agreed will see more efficient weekly collection rounds, food waste incorporated into existing collection services, garden waste collections better tailored to suit demand, and stiffer penalties for anyone caught littering or fly-tipping in the borough.”
“The proposals agreed will see more efficient weekly collection rounds, food waste incorporated into existing collection services, garden waste collections better tailored to suit demand, and stiffer penalties for anyone caught littering or fly-tipping in the borough.”Councillor Dean Cohen
Committee members also agreed for penalties for anyone caught littering or fly-tipping to be toughened up to act as a deterrent. Those caught littering will now face an increased fine of £100, while anyone caught fly-tipping, will be handed a fixed penalty notice of £400, as well as facing possible prosecution.
In total, the proposed changes agreed by the committee will save the taxpayer £790,000, the local authority said.
Barnet is part of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), which also includes the boroughs of Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.
The authority is responsible for helping the seven boroughs, which have nearly 1.9 million residents, dispose of 850,000 tonnes of waste collected each year, NLWA reports.