Sheffield wants to delay food waste collections to 2038

Sheffield city council has voted to request a  delay in food waste collections until its contract with Veolia ends in 2038.

Food waste volumes rose between 2018 and 2021, but have declined since 2007

The council’s Waste & Street Scene Policy Committee voted for the delay in a meeting that took place on 15 November.

This comes after the Department for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment (Defra) announced in its Simpler Recycling plan that all councils should implement food waste collections by 2026.

Sheffield outlined that a switch would cost £3 million.


In a report that went before the committee, Cllr Townrow outlines three options for the councils food waste collections with option 3 being the recommended option.

Option 1 proposes implementing a weekly food waste recycling service by March 31, 2026, without seeking a Transitional Arrangement. However, uncertainties loom over funding availability, estimating costs of approximately £3 million for implementation. This option promises expanded recycling opportunities for residents, forecasting a 6% annual rise in recycling rates and a carbon saving of 78 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year.

Option 2 involves pursuing approval from Central Government for a Transitional Arrangement, extending the commencement of separate food waste collections until March 31, 2031. Cllr Townrow outlined that this deferral offers an additional five years to allocate the annual £3 million earmarked for alternative initiatives. However, it postpones expanded recycling options for residents until 2031 and delays New Burdens funding until the end of the Transitional Arrangement, potentially affecting financial planning.

Preferred option

The recommended option, option 3, proposes seeking national government’s approval for a transitional arrangement, delaying distinct food waste collections until the Veolia contract concludes, which is stated for 2038.

Cllr Townrow said: “It doesn’t mean we have to wait until 2038 to implement the service but we’ll have an informed decision based on what government is saying at the time in terms of what funding is available so we can then decide when is best to introduce the service.”

However in the report, he highlighted that despite the potential for cost-effective delivery through a competitive tendering process, the delay until 2038 presents challenges for residents awaiting enhanced recycling options and poses uncertainties regarding delayed New Burdens funding.

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