Wandsworth plans to expand food waste trial

Wandsworth council is to consider a proposal to expand a food waste collection trial as part of efforts to improve its recycling rate, which is amongst the lowest in the country.

Defra food waste
The plans include a new weekly separate food waste collection service in 23l caddies (picture: Shutterstock)

The report, due to go before the London borough’s environment committee, highlights the difference in the cost between anaerobic digestion (AD) and energy from waste (EfW).

It states that processing food waste would cost the council £17 per tonne in comparison to the £160 per tonne that the authority currently pays for sending its residual waste to Cory’s Riverside EfW facility via the Western Riverside Waste Authority (WRWA).

The report explained that the delivery of food waste would require funding to provide containers, communications, and operational delivery via the council’s waste contractor Serco. However, it noted that any material diverted away from the waste stream will deliver a future saving on the waste disposal levy.

The document outlines the steps needed to expand Wandsworth’s ongoing food waste collection trial in part of the borough, including identifying suitable areas or property types, as well as securing approval to proceed from the WRWA. The waste authority manages waste from the boroughs of Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Lambeth.

Trial

Wandsworth started a food waste collection trial in the Southfields district in November last year “to help inform future decisions on the council’s next waste and recycling contract to commence in 2024” (see letsrecycle.com story).

The food waste from the borough’s Southfields trial is being sent to Bio Collectors’ AD facility

Initially set for a period of 12 months, the trial serves 2,300 households in the area and it is proposed “as a minimum, to continue”. The collected food waste is taken to Bio Collectors’ anaerobic digestion facility and the trial has cost the council “in the region of £70,000 per year”.

The local authority is to discuss the proposals at a meeting on 10 November. With a population of more than 327,000, the London borough of Wandsworth had a household waste recycling rate of 24.2% in the 2020/21 financial year.

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