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New research shows public support for separate food waste collections

More than 78 per cent of people support having a separate food waste collection to enable recycling of food, according to research from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The research entitled, Enhancing participation in kitchen waste collections (23 December 2009) surveyed more than 4,000 households around the country and shows that 92 per cent of people who frequently use their councils food collection service find it easy to use.

Commenting about the study, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: Our latest research is very encouraging as it shows that separate food waste collections are definitely working in the areas that are using them, and more importantly people are happy with them. We would like to see all local authorities collecting food waste as soon as possible and by 2020 at the latest.

The report shows that well-run food waste collections can capture between 20 to 50 per cent of available food waste and the highest performing schemes are capturing around 90 to 100 kilograms per household per year of food waste.

Only a third of local authorities which collect waste provide a food waste collection service which equals 137 councils in the UK.

The Government also announced that eight councils will receive £1.3 million worth of funding from the Waste & Resources Action Programme to help them start separate food waste collections. The local authorities receiving funding are: Somerset Waste Partnership, Sefton MBC, Oxford City Council, London Borough of Islington, Broadland DC, London Borough of Lambeth, Newcastle under Lyme, and West Dorset.

Benn said: It is not about making it more difficult for everyone to sort out their rubbish, and well be using the evidence from this research plus the experience of the areas introducing or extending food waste collections under the funding announced by WRAP, to help us make decisions on the next steps.

Other key findings from report:

  • Participation is generally stronger for home compostable materials such as fruit and vegetables than for meat, meal scraps or runny foods;
  • Providing financial rewards for food waste recycling may introduce perverse incentives that deter home composting of food; and
  • Households living in terraced houses tend to have a stronger experience of yuck and hassle around food waste recycling than those in larger homes.

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