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Survey finds public support for separate food waste collections

More than 80% of householders who use local authority food waste collections believe they should be provided by all councils.

Research by Friends of the Earth shows that 82% of people separately disposing of food waste say the practice is not a nuisance. Around 56% of those without food waste bins agree.

FoE claims the study, Storm in a Slop Bucket, dispels concerns expressed by Department for Communities and Local Government minister Eric Pickles about the need for food waste collections.

Other findings showed that:

  • 81.1% of respondents believe food waste collections are good for the environment - 88% of those with food waste collections and 75% without
  • 63.1% disagreed with the statement ‘food waste collections are unnecessary’ - 76% of those with food collections disagreed and 51% of those without

FoE waste campaigner Julian Kirby said: “It’s a load of rubbish that food waste collections are smelly and unpopular - most people think they’re hassle-free and want all councils to provide them. As food prices rise, it is even more important that we cut waste and recycle the scraps that cannot be eaten, and we can make genuinely renewable energy from what is left over.

“[Prime minister] David Cameron must build on the success and popularity of recycling by setting a goal to halve the rubbish England throws away by the end of the decade.”

Comment: May Gurney Environmental Services managing director Nicola Peake

We would strongly endorse Friends of the Earth’s claim that separate food waste recycling bins cut the amount of food wasted (13th September, 2011). Our experience running recycling services for 20 local authorities across the UK has shown that food waste collections cut the amount of food thrown away by around 25% as people realise how much they are wasting.

The fact that the Friends of the Earth research found that ‘only’ 30 per cent of people report they are wasting less food may have more to do with the fact that less than half of the local authorities in England currently provide separate food waste recycling collections.  We strongly believe that if separate food waste recycling was the norm then food wastage would be dramatically reduced.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Local comments from a food waste trial started by the community in Kirknewton, West Lothian can on todays blog. Unfortunately we don't have £15,000 to continue it for another year and it would be great if our local council could support it

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