Buckinghamshire’s waste authority has reported a surge in food waste recycling since the launch of a campaign last summer.
And, the authority has also indicated that one factor in the increase is likely to have been the approval for residents in some districts to use plastic bags in their caddies for food waste, rather than compostable liners or newspaper.
During the six months from October 2017 until March 2018, an extra 639 tonnes of food waste was recycled in Buckinghamshire compared to the same period the previous year, the authority said.
This equates to an extra 2.9kgs of food waste from every in the county, on average, the authority added. In Bucks, around 16,000 tonnes of food waste are collected from homes each year.
The Fighting Food Waste campaign is run by the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire which is made up of the four district councils. Each of the four councils collect household waste and Buckinghamshire county council disposes of it.
The campaign has funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. By using advertising, social media, and direct contact with residents, “it aims to get people who already recycle food waste to do it more, and to get other residents to start for the first time,” the partnership said.
Across the south of the county, the districts offered households free food waste caddies, and 3,000 extra caddies were ordered during six months, the authority reports. Free caddy liners were also provided to all households in the southern districts together with information on how to recycle food waste.
Commenting on the results, Councillor Bill Chapple, Buckinghamshire county council cabinet member for planning and environment, and chairman of the partnership, said: “This is another good step forward in our efforts to be more waste efficient and residents can give themselves a pat on the back, though there is always room to do more.
“The ideal is not to waste food, but some waste is unavoidable and by recycling we can still get energy from that food – electrical energy.”
According to the partnership, allowing some residents to use plastic bags in their caddies may have contributed to the “upturn” in recycling.
Residents in the southern districts – South Bucks, Chiltern and Wycombe – have for some months been able use plastic bags to dispose of food waste rather than needing to use compostable bags or paper, the partnership said.
From the beginning of June 2018, residents of Aylesbury Vale have also been able to use plastic bags to line their food waste caddies, which the authority hopes will continue to increase the amounts of food waste recycling.
The councils offer weekly collections for food waste at the kerbside. This food waste is sent for processing at anaerobic digestion plants – Olleco’s Westcott Park AD (recently acquired from Renewi), and Agrivert’s Wallingford AD.
At the AD plants, food waste is recycled to produce biogas, which is used as fuel to generate electricity, and digestate, a fertiliser which can be used on farmland.
“AD is far more cost efficient than sending food waste to the county’s energy from waste site at Greatmoor where other non-recyclable waste is sent,” WPB said.