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 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.

New service for Huntington’s Disease sufferers

A new service is being set up to help people in Renfrewshire and across the Clyde Valley, who suffer from Huntington’s disease (HD).

Renfrewshire Council is joining forces with East Renfrewshire Community Health and Social Care Partnership (CHCP), West Dumbarton CHCP, Inverclyde CHCP and East Dunbartonshire Council to fund the service which is being provided by the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA). Each body is contributing £8,000.

sha logoThe SHA already provides a network of specialists throughout Scotland and the new local service will include; carrying out assessments and one to one support in the home, training and help through support groups.

Huntington’s Disease is a progressive illness which damages the brain, leading to a steady deterioration in muscle co-ordination and mental abilities. The damage also causes behavioural and mental health changes. There is presently no cure for HD and those living with the condition will require full-time care in the later stages of the illness.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said, “Huntington’s Disease can have a devastating impact on families due to the fact that it is an inherited disease. There are the obvious, debilitating effects for the person with the condition but their children also have to live with the knowledge that they might develop the illness too.

“The new service will help provide people living with HD and their families with the emotional support they need while also making sure they have the information and coping strategies to manage their condition in the long-term.

“By working together, the local authorities of the Clyde Valley are providing an important service for people which taps into the experience and expertise of the Scottish Huntington’s Association.”

SHA is the only charity in Scotland working directly with HD families.

John Eden, Chief Executive of the Scottish Huntington’s Association, said, “Since we started back in 1989 our most important goal has been to establish specialist support services across Scotland. Securing this funding takes us one step closer to achieving this goal.

“Step by step we are steadily rolling out our services to more and more families whose lives have been blighted by HD.

“We will now be able to deliver our lifeline support to around another 240 families living with the condition in Clyde Valley area.”

Huntington’s is hereditary with children having a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. The Clyde Valley has one of the highest populations of people living with Huntington’s disease of any area in Scotland.

The physical symptoms of Huntington’s disease can begin at any age from infancy to old age, but usually start between 33 and 45 years old. The disease may develop earlier in life in each successive generation.

Symptoms vary between individuals, and even among family members, but they usually follow a predictable course. The earliest symptoms are often subtle problems with mood or reasoning.

A general lack of coordination and an unsteady gait often follows. As the disease advances, uncoordinated, jerky body movements become more apparent, along with a decline in mental abilities and growing behavioural and psychiatric problems. Over time coordinated movement becomes increasingly difficult and mental abilities generally decline.

The life expectancy for people with Huntington’s Disease is approximately twenty years after symptoms start to be apparent. There is no cure for Huntington’s and full-time care is required in the later stages of the disease.