The Waste & Resources Action Programme has set aside a budget of £3.5 million to support local authorities who want to start separate food waste collections between the end of this month and 2011.
Speaking at the Futuresource conference at the Excel Centre in London, WRAP local government services director Philip Ward said that weekly separate food collections were more effective at capturing waste than mixed food collections with garden waste.
He said: I think we are fairly clear that separate food waste collection is the way to go and because of that, WRAP is setting aside some of its budget over the next couple of years, £3.5 million, to support local authorities who want to start separate food waste collections. The details will be put on our website towards the end of this month. We are hoping to provide a household grant, sufficient to cover the initial set up costs of the scheme.
Ward said there was a big debate around food waste collections and whether councils do it as a mixed collection or separate collection.
He explained: The question is which is more effective? We are very clear on this. The evidence we think is quite strong. With weekly food collections and separate food collections, you are getting 70 per cent participation, capturing about 60 per cent of food waste. That is 150kg per household per year, and its a popular scheme it works.
The problem with fortnightly combined garden and food is you dont capture very much food. What you get is a very small amount, a maximum of 20 per cent of food, and 80 per cent of it is garden waste. It all has to go through in-vessel composting and that is the problem of it.
Ward said that people who want to get rid of their food weekly tend to put their food in the residual bin during the week when the garden waste is not going to be collected. He also said that people did not like to put their food waste, like meat and fish, in with their garden waste. He said mixed food waste and garden collections were not suitable for anaerobic digestion treatment and obviously you are pushing it through a more expensive treatment.