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Redbridge Council must introduce separate food waste collection under new government proposals

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 March 2020

Redbridge Council will need to introduce measures that allow residents to compost leftover food and stop it from going to landfill. Picture: PA

Redbridge Council will need to introduce measures that allow residents to compost leftover food and stop it from going to landfill. Picture: PA

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Redbridge Council will need to roll out food waste collections to more than 100,000 homes under government plans to stop leftovers going to landfill, figures show.

The Environment Bill outlines plans for food waste to be collected separately from all households by 2023, with a campaign group calling uneaten food in the country an "environmental nightmare of epic proportions".

An analysis of data from waste reduction charity Waste and Resources Action Programme, which supports the proposals, shows the estimated 111,000 households in Redbridge do not get their kitchen scraps picked up by the council.

This means Redbridge Council, along with around half of all English local authorities, will have to introduce a new food waste collection within three years.

The research from Wrap, which shows that the average UK household wastes eight meals a week, suggests that around 19,000 tonnes of food is thrown away in the area each year.

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

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

Figures provided by 326 English local authorities to Wrap for 2018-2019 show Redbridge Council is one of 160 councils not to provide any food waste collections for their residents.

According to the data, 35pc of councils do provide this service for some or all of their households, 12pc have a system where people can dispose of leftovers alongside garden waste, and 4pc offer a mixture of the two systems.

The statistics from Wrap go up to 2018-19, but some councils may have changed their services since then.

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The figures reveal the scale of the challenge facing town halls in meeting the Government's requirement for all homes to have food waste collections.

In addition, the information does not reflect how many families who have access to food waste recycling actually use it, and how many are still throwing leftovers, scraps and gone off food into the bin.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the department will be working closely with local authorities to end confusion over household recycling.

She added: "Nobody wants to see good, nutritious food going to waste and harming our environment, which is why we've committed to eliminating food waste from landfill by 2030."

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

The Local Government Association said it supported ambitions to reduce food waste, but spokesman David Renard said decisions over separate collections should be a local decision.

He added: "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."

Carina Millstone, executive director of food waste campaigners Feedback, said: "With over 10 million tonnes of food going to waste per year in the UK, food waste is an environmental nightmare of epic proportions. The good news is that halving our food waste is one of the most effective actions any of us can take to help address the climate emergency.

"Councils have an important role to play - sending food scraps to be composted or to be made into energy is far better than sending it to landfill or to be incinerated, saving around one third of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by binning food.

"However, not wasting edible food is by far the best option. It's imperative that the Government provides support not only for kerbside food waste collection, but also for initiatives to help us all waste less food in the first place."

The Recorder reached out to Redbridge Council for comment on this story but didn't receive it in time for publication.


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