Brighton and Hove could soon have food waste collections

Posted On 07 Dec 2011 at 8:42 pm

Food waste collections could start in Brighton and Hove within 18 months.

Brighton and Hove City Council has budgeted £500,000 for a trial covering about 6,000 homes, probably in the suburbs.

The council hopes that the cost will be less and it will try to attract European Union (EU) funding for the scheme.

The trial would probably involve binmen collecting food waste each week.

Dry recycling would be collected once a fortnight – as it is now – alternating with domestic rubbish collections which would also be once a fortnight.

The net result would mean four waste collections a fortnight in each street rather than the present three.

The food waste collected would be turned into compost, preventing up to 22,000 tonnes of waste being sent to landfill.

If the council sends more waste to landfill than EU rules allow, it could be fined.

In 2009-10 the council collected nearly 64,000 tonnes of rubbish – about 22,000 tonnes of which was believed to be food.

The policy is also in keeping with the council’s aim of increasing recycling rates from 27 per cent now to 50 per cent by 2020.

About a third of the average home’s rubbish is food waste, the council said, with the average home throwing away nearly 8lb of food a week worth about £520 a year.

The council said: “A service collecting waste food in Brighton and Hove could stop up to 22,000 tonnes of refuse being binned every year – equivalent to the weight of around 20,000 Ford Fiesta cars.

“The move would be a step towards the council’s key goals of significantly increasing recycling and also safeguard it against possible EU fines for low recycling rates.

“Councillors also want to move towards generating zero waste as part of a ‘One Planet Living’ vision, where everyone lives sustainably within the Earth’s resources.”

Gillian Marston, head of the council’s refuse service Cityclean, said:  “A by-product of food waste collection is that people waste less food and save money.

“Separating food waste really makes people aware of how much edible food they are throwing away.

“Everyone feels guilty about throwing away food and regrets the wasted cash.

“So as well as eliminating tonnes of refuse, it’s a load off your mind.

“But our main is to cut the amount that’s thrown away in the first place.”

If the scheme goes ahead, Brighton and Hove will join the 136 councils already collecting food waste.

The council cabinet is due to decide whether to go ahead with the trial – scheduled for the 2013-14 financial year – at a meeting at Hove Town Hall tomorrow (Thursday 8 December).

Information about reducing food waste can be found on the council’s website here.

A report to the council’s cabinet on the proposals can be found here.

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