Food waste recycling across Tewkesbury borough has seen a dramatic increase following an initiative by the borough council and Gloucestershire's Joint Waste Team reminding residents not to landfill their leftovers.
Back in September all green refuse bins in the borough received a yellow sticker advising residents not to dump their food waste and a bin hanger explaining what happens to the collected waste. Since then food waste recycling has increased by 24% based on the same quarter figures from 2014/15; an improvement which is reflected by a downturn in the amount of residual waste being presented for collection.
Councillor Jim Mason, Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment at Tewkesbury Borough Council and Chair of the Joint Waste Committee, said: 'We have been delighted by the results of the bin stickering exercise and would like to thank all residents who are using their weekly food waste service. It really does make a difference.'
'Recycling food waste not only helps the tax payer by cutting expensive disposal costs but ensures this valuable resource is put to good use producing a biogas which can be distributed back to the grid and 'digestate' a nutrient rich fertiliser for use on farmland.'
He continued: 'Evidence shows that the average family will throw away £700 worth of food each year. So while many of us think we don't have any food waste, we still do, and much of it could be easily avoided through the better planning of meals, using up leftovers, shopping smarter and just familiarising ourselves with how best to store our food and what the 'in date' labelling really means.'
The collected food waste is sent to Andigestion's state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at Bishop's Cleeve where it is processed.
Treating the food waste using AD means that residents no longer need to use compostable bags to line their caddies, although can continue to do so if they wish. This is because all bags are removed before the food waste is processed, so plastic bags - including old supermarket carrier bags, used bread bags and leftover cereal packet bags, which may otherwise end up in the bin - can be utilised to line the caddies if householders prefer.
The bin stickering project is part of a wider push by five of Gloucestershire's local authorities, supported by the county's Joint Waste Team, to encourage more residents to take up food waste recycling. Similar uplifts in food waste recycling performance have been experienced across the county following the project.
Tewkesbury residents who need a new or replacement food waste caddy can order them by calling Tewkesbury Borough Council on 01684 295010 or by going online at tewkesbury.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling. Caddies are currently provided free of charge.
Information about food waste reduction can be found at lovefoodhatewaste.com.