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Councils begin study of food waste disposers

The Local Government Association has launched a project investigating the impact of food waste disposers (FWDs).

FWDs, which enable food waste to be disposed of down the sink, have been fitted in all homes at a new development in Shrewsbury. Food waste disposed of with sewage is then treated by anaerobic digestion. The research will investigate the impact on the sewers network and any possible additional costs to consumers.

The LGA hopes the scheme will create cost savings for Shropshire Council.

Councillor Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA improvement board said finding innovative waste management solutions was crucial at a time of severe funding cuts.

He said: “There are households where collecting food waste for composting is not possible. By researching new potential ways of dealing with this waste we open the door to possible savings.”

Philippa Roberts from the Low and Behold consultancy, which is managing the project, outlined the research programme: “Much of the project monitoring and evaluation will involve the sewer network and waste water treatment works.  Over 70% of the sewer network is more than 50 years old and was not originally designed to carry food waste, so the impacts on the sewer network and the treatment works, and any cost implications of these are a critical element of the pilot project.

“The LGA’s waste innovation programme will trial the use of food waste disposers in kitchen sinks, these will enable householders to dispose of food waste without the need for it to be collected. This then opens up the opportunity for councils to make savings in collection and landfill costs. The research in this project will help us ascertain what the cost and practical impacts of doing this are for the water companies.”

The monitoring project, funded by the LGA, will begin in the new year and run for at least 12 months.

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