Turning Food Waste into Opportunity

Renfrewshire is about to increase its impressive recycling rates with the roll out of a new food waste collection and recycling service. Residents are already recycling effectively; doing their bit for the environment by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and reducing the amount of tax that their council pays on that waste.

On average, food makes up one third of the waste in our grey bins and the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 places a statutory duty on all local authorities to provide households with a separate food waste collection service by 1 January 2016.

This week, residents will start to receive all they need to make recycling food easy. A small 7 litre caddy and biodegradable refill bags to be used in the kitchen for all sorts of cooked or uncooked food: dairy, meat, chicken, bones, fruit, vegetables, bread, rice and pasta, fish, teabags and coffee grounds.

When full, the bags should be put in the outside 23 litre food recycling bins. These have secure lids and will create no more smell or pest risk than normal grey bins.

The council will collect food caddies weekly.

When they are close to running out of the biodegradable caddy bags, people should tie a bag to their outside food waste caddy when they put it out for collection. The council will then leave a free roll of replacement bags. It is important that only these bags are used to recycle food, as ordinary bin liners and carrier bags are not biodegradable.

One half of Renfrewshire’s households will take delivery of their two caddies and a supply of food waste bags during week commencing 16 September. Their waste will be collected the next week on the same day as their usual bin collection.

The remainder of households will receive their caddies and bags during the week commencing 23 September and collections will start during the following week. People who live in flats will get all they need to recycling their food waste later in the autumn.

More benefits have arisen from this initiative; it has created work for 12 people to drive the specialist vehicles and 12 collectors.

The good news continues with the processing of the food waste that Renfrewshire recycles. It will be taken to a treatment facility where it will be made into agricultural fertiliser and used to produce a gas that can be used to generate electricity.

Residents are still being urged to continue home composting and recycling. This new collection service takes food that cannot be composted in a domestic setting.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Environment Policy Board, is enthusiastic about the new recycling service. “This is one of the easiest multiple wins we can all contribute to. It will reduce waste, create work for local people, decrease our use of landfill, save money, and create power and fertilisers. The council’s making it easy, safe and free to recycle food waste and I’d encourage everyone to do their bit so that we can all reap these benefits.

“Of course, we might all be shocked by the amount of food that we do actually waste. In these tough times, residents might like to visit scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com to see how they can eat well, save money and create less waste all round.”

All Renfrewshire household will receive leaflets containing detailed instructions on how best to recycle their food waste.