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London boroughs shun food waste savings

An attempt to secure huge procurement savings in food recycling has flopped after only four councils took part.

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) had offered to run joint procurement of food waste caddies and caddy liners for the 20 London boroughs awarded money from the Government’s Weekly Collection Support Scheme.

This distributed some £30m across the boroughs, around half of which was expected to be spent on such equipment.

But problems in reaching purchasing decisions on time saw only seven boroughs express interest in the joint procurement.

Of those, just four eventually participated and none bought food waste housing units.

This was despite tenders showing savings in the 15-30% range, depending on specification.

A paper to Thursday’s LWARB board meeting said staff had identified opportunities for joint procurement of food waste caddies, liners, and food waste housing units.

The report said: “The [LWARB] Efficiencies Committee thought that this should be an area for delivering quick and easy savings for boroughs, but needs senior or chief officer backing.

“It appears that boroughs struggle to align their purchasing timetables with LWARB joint procurements, even when flagged up in advance.”

An LWARB spokesman said: “We are expecting more to participate when we run the process again later this year.

“Aligning the purchasing requirements of multiple authorities is always going to be a challenge.”

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