Councils need to roll food waste collections to millions more homes to stop landfill leftovers

Town halls will need to roll out food waste collections to millions more homes in England under Government plans to stop leftovers going to landfill, latest figures show.
Town halls will need to roll out food waste collections to millions more homes in England under Government plans to stop leftovers going to landfill, latest figures show.
0
Have your say

Town halls will need to roll out food waste collections to millions more homes in England under Government plans to stop leftovers going to landfill, latest figures show.

More than 13.4 million English households currently do not get their kitchen scraps picked up separately from the black bin rubbish.

The Government has set out plans in its Environment Bill for food waste to be collected separately from all households by 2023 to cut the amount of food wasted and tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent consultation showed that if all local authorities provided food waste collections, 1.35 million tonnes more food waste would be picked up by 2029, cutting greenhouse gases from food rotting in landfill by an estimated 1.25 million tonnes a year.

Councils say they need funding to bring in universal food waste collections - and practical challenges have to be overcome.

Typically, food waste is collected from houses using a caddy in the kitchen and then putting out the scraps in another container outside for picking up, or it can be combined with garden waste.

Flats are said to pose more of a challenge, with some given communal bins to empty their caddies into.

Read more: Government must bring unified approach to recycling to end confusion - Yorkshire Post letters
Figures provided by 326 English local authorities to waste reduction body Wrap for 2018/2019 shows almost half - 160 councils, covering 11.7 million households - do not provide any food waste collections for their residents. This includes a number of local authorities in Yorkshire including Barnsley, Bradford, Craven and Harrogate.

According to the data, 115 councils do provide a separate food waste collection for some or all of their households, including some trialling schemes for a small number of homes.

In Yorkshire the authorities taking such steps include Hull City Council and Leeds City Council.

A further 38 local authorities, including Chesterfield Borough Council, provide a system where people can dispose of food leftovers along with garden waste such as grass and hedge clippings, while 13 offer a mixture of the two systems to various households.

Almost all councils that provide a separate food waste collection pick up the kitchen waste weekly, while most of the councils which combine food scraps with garden material do the rounds once a fortnight.

Read more: The Yorkshire rubbish dumps with their own poet-in-residence
But the data shows only 64 English councils - around one in five - provide food waste collections for all the households they collect rubbish from, though many more pick up kitchen scraps for most of the families in their area.

Overall, just under 6.9 million homes are offered a separate food waste collection and almost 3.4 million have a mixed garden and food waste system, the figures suggest.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, said it supported ambitions to reduce food waste, But David Renard, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: “Councils would need to be fully funded to meet new costs from introducing weekly food waste collections, regardless of whether or not they have been providing a food waste service voluntarily.”

He warned that introducing mandatory weekly pickups could affect waste disposal contracts and lead to councils incurring financial penalties, and there were practical challenges to providing universal collections.

The Government says its preference is for separate collections rather than with garden waste.