Bucks Residents Achieve Impressive Increase In Food Waste Recycling

The AD plant at Wallingford, Oxon, which processes Bucks food waste

In the six months from October to March, an extra 639 tonnes of food waste was recycled in Buckinghamshire compared to the same period the previous year.

That’s an extra 2.9kgs of food waste from every household in the county, on average.

The Fighting Food Waste campaign is run by the Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire (WPB), which is made up of the four district councils which collect household waste and Buckinghamshire County Council which disposes of it. The campaign has funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. By using advertising, social media, and direct contact with residents, it aims to get people who already recycle food waste to do it more, and to get other residents to start for the first time.

Across the south of the county, the districts offered households free food waste caddies, and 3,000 extra caddies were ordered during six months, either by first-time food recyclers or by householders replacing lost or broken caddies. Free caddy liners were also provided to all households in the southern districts together with information on how to recycle food waste.

“The ideal is not to waste food, but some waste is unavoidable and by recycling we can still get energy from that food – electrical energy.”

Councillor Bill Chapple OBE, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment and chairman of the WPB, said: “This is another good step forward in our efforts to be more waste efficient and residents can give themselves a pat on the back, though there is always room to do more.

“The ideal is not to waste food, but some waste is unavoidable and by recycling we can still get energy from that food – electrical energy.”

The upturn in recycling may have been helped by the fact that residents in the southern districts – South Bucks, Chiltern and Wycombe – have for some months been able use plastic bags to dispose of food waste in their caddies rather than needing to use compostable bags or paper. From the beginning of June 2018, residents of Aylesbury Vale have also been able to use plastic bags to line their food waste caddies, which will hopefully continue to increase the amounts of food waste recycling.

A Love Food Hate Waste section on the Recycle for Buckinghamshire website (www.recycle4bucks.co.uk) gives tips on making the most of leftovers and reducing waste, but some food waste is unavoidable. By recycling as much of it as possible through the dedicated weekly kerbside collections carried out by the districts, the waste can be turned into energy by a process of anaerobic digestion (AD).

In Bucks, food waste is sent for processing in AD plants at Westcott (Bucks) and Wallingford (Oxon).

At the AD plants, the food waste is digested by bacteria in special tanks to produce methane-rich biogas – which is used as fuel to generate electricity – and a chemical-free fertiliser that can be used by farmers to enrich their soil.

AD is far more cost efficient than sending food waste to the county’s Energy from Waste (EfW) site at Greatmoor where other non-recyclable waste is sent.

In Bucks, around 16,000 tonnes of food waste are collected from homes each year, but there is still more to be done to reduce food waste, and to recycle unavoidable waste.

Send this to a friend