Most Rochdale residents know what should be put in their food waste bin, a consultation carried out by the borough council has found – but despite this many people still put food waste in their residual bin.
The survey on food waste disposal found that 96% of people felt they understood how food and garden waste bins should be used.
But whilst only 10% of respondents admitted that they always throw their food waste into the general waste, the local authority has reported that “a number of residents” are using both the general and food waste bins to dispose of unwanted food.
The council launched the consultation in an effort to find out why residents were not using their food waste bins more often – analysis by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority found that 20% of residual waste collected in Rochdale was food waste (See letsrecycle.com story).
Rochdale hopes to push up its food waste recycling, partly to cut costs. The council say food waste costs a third more to collect in general waste collections than it does in food and garden waste bins, largely because of its weight.
Responses from 560 residents were received by the local authority, with the questionnaire closing on July 16.
Most Rochdale residents surveyed said they throw away food that is inedible, such as potato peelings, tea bags or banana skins.
However 51% also said they disposed of food which was out of date, with around one to three plates of food thrown out per resident per week.
Another 14% of respondents told the council they did not always recycle their food waste as they think it is unhygienic, dirty or smelly.
The majority of residents also said they wanted to hear about recycling news through the local authority’s social media accounts and website.
Based on the survey results, Rochdale is now launching a nudge campaign to encourage residents who sometimes use the wrong bin to always dispose of their food waste correctly.
They will ask residents to be a ‘food hero’ and put all of their food waste in their brown bin.
A spokesperson said this would “reinforce the benefits to those who do already recycle their food waste and will ask those who do not use the recycling bin at all to think again”.
A group of six characters have been created to promote the campaign – residents will be introduced to Captain Carrot, Sid Spud and Babu Broccoli through bin stickers that are due to be distributed this week.
This will be followed by a social media and web campaign, along with press coverage.