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Ealing move aimed at avoiding potential financial penalties

Ealing Council has become one of the first in London to begin a free borough-wide food waste-recycling scheme in a move aimed at avoiding huge financial penalties in the coming years.

The council sees this as essential with sharply rising landfill taxes and the possibility local councils may have to pay fines for sending biodegradable waste, like food, to landfill. They believe if action isn't taken now, fines could run into millions of pounds by 2010.

Ealing Council cabinet member for streets and the environment John Delaney said: "It is hugely important because it will save the council money and benefit our residents and the environment."

The new scheme will be available to 75% (95,000) of the borough's households and will collect all food waste including cooked and raw food, bones, eggshells, tea bags and dairy products.

Residents will be given a sealable bin and the 24% of household waste that is unwanted food will now be converted to compost rather than buried in landfill.

ECT will carry out the collections. Its director Andy Bond said: "The introduction of the food waste scheme means they can now easily recycle their uneaten food- from peelings to meal leftovers and out of date produce- which combined with paper, cans and glass make up over half of the average bin."

The scheme, which is part-funded by the London Recycling Fund will be started on a ward-by-ward basis from October 18 and will be operational throughout the borough by next Easter.

A number of roadshows aimed at explaining the initiative to resident have also been announced.

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