Lincolnshire councils are expected to consider the introduction of separate food waste collections as part of a new long-term waste strategy for the region which is being finalised.
Currently being adopted by Lincolnshire councils after around 18 months of discussion between the eight members of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership – the new strategy sets out the Partnership’s priorities for improving waste management in the county. It replaces a previous strategy put in place in 2008.
Alongside the county council, Boston, City of Lincoln, East Lindsey, North Kesteven, South Holland, South Kesteven and West Lindsey district council are expected to sign up to the strategy by the end of this month, with six of the councils having done so to date.
Within the policy paper, authorities will look to move towards ten key objectives, which includes collecting a common set of recyclable materials, improving quality of collected material and considering the introduction of separate food waste collections where they are ‘technically, environmentally and economically practicable’.
Development of the policies follows in-depth analysis of the county’s waste generation – looking at the composition of waste and recyclables collected from a population of close to 750,000 residents.
At present, all seven of the county’s collection authorities offer no form of separate collection service for food waste from the kerbside. Any resulting food waste that is placed in residual waste containers is likely to be processed together at an energy from waste facility at North Hykeham, operated by FCC Environment – through a long-term waste contract with Lincolnshire council.
According to numbers quoted in the strategy the food waste stream is thought to total around 48,000 tonnes of material per year, of a total of around 360,000 tonnes of material collected at the kerbside (roughly 13%).
Food waste trial
Initial testing of the feasibility of food waste collections for the region has begun through a 12-month trial in the South Kesteven district, which launched in June 2018, and involves around 4,700 households (see letsrecycle.com story).
The South Kesteven trial sees food waste collected from participating homes via a kerbside caddy on a weekly basis. Collected material is processed at an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility operated by Hemswell Biogas near Gainsborough.
According to the district council the trial is intended to assess the benefits of introducing a separate food waste collection service in terms of improving the amounts processed and in terms of waste collected.
Within the strategy, the Waste Partnership noted that although public consultation on the measure yielded a ‘divided’ response to the benefit of separate food waste collection – with opponents largely citing practical challenges – the addition of the ‘TEEP’ wording in the objective will ‘allow these concerns to be addressed’.
On dry recyclables, the county’s analysis has suggested that councils have seen an increase in the amount of non-recyclable waste presented. In total around 68% of DMR collected comprised of ‘target’ materials, while around 27% of that collected was deemed to be ‘non-recyclable’.
All the councils operate a kerbside collection of mixed dry recyclables which includes a ‘wide range of materials’, according to the Partnership.
As such, the strategy has identified that it would like to move towards a more standardised recyclable stream where possible in a bid to make recycling ‘more user friendly’ and in line with a wider agenda on recycling consistency.
The strategy notes that councils are currently drawing up an agreement on a ‘common recycling mix’ which would be publicised through a communications campaign – with an initial focus on materials that should not be part of recycling collections.
A move towards separate food waste collections is likely to become an increasing focus for councils across England, having formed a part of the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, also published last month (see letsrecycle.com story). A consultation on how councils will be expected to meet this requirement is expected early this year.