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WRAP to stop selling compost bins at the end of September - UPDATE

The Waste & Resources Action Programme will stop selling compost bins from the end of this month to local authorities.

It has stated that a number of local authorities are now subsidising bins themselves and have made the decision based on local circumstances and priorities.

A WRAP spokeswoman said: WRAPs focus will now be on providing help and advice to existing home composters. The programme has entered a new phase, concentrating on the advice and support element, to ensure that people dont just buy compost bins but also use them in the most effective way possible. This support will continue after we have stopped selling compost bins. WRAP will continue to promote home composting as the most cost effective way of diverting organic waste from landfill the difference in future is that WRAP will not sell compost bins.

Last year, WRAP announced that it faced budget cuts of 25 per cent.

In February, it wrote to all its English local authority partners and conducted face to face meetings with them to outline the changes to the home composting programme.

Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee chair Joy Blizzard said: WRAP gave us plenty of warning that they were going to stop subsidising home composters so local authorities have many alternatives in place.

Food waste digester firm Green Cone sells food waste digesters and home composters. Managing director John Cockram said that by WRAP not selling home composters it will create opportunities for us to talk to councils about providing food waste digesters to them.

He added: Councils are now moving away from home composters and looking at how to treat food waste. Food waste has gone high up the agenda and the banning of organics from landfill will be imminent. Councils are saying time is running out and they have their Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme targets to meet. Gate fees are also going up.

Cockram was critical of local authority food waste collections, especially in rural areas. He said that food waste trucks will create bigger carbon footprints and 40 per cent of food waste goes in the residual bin rather than the separate food waste bin anyway.

It does not make sense for the council to collect food waste, from say somewhere like, Yorkshire or a county shire which have houses that are really dispersed. It makes no sense to take it to a multi-million pound anaerobic digestion facility when people can easily recycle it in their own gardens.

Container supplier Straight chief executive Jonathan Straight said that local authorities are keen to promote home composting. He said: Councils are very positive about home composting. It means they have to collect less waste and it promotes waste prevention.

The real opportunity for councils once WRAP leaves the market is to keep selling compost bins, but at much lower prices. They do not have to put any subsidy into the pot to do this. Our prices are up to 20 per cent lower than WRAP prices before any subsidy is applied.

 The market for home composters is far from saturated. We have one third of English councils signed up to our service from 1 October and it is composters, accessories and water butts they are interested in, not anything else.

 Food waste is being widely processed in AD schemes as this is what the Waste Strategy 2007 dictated. Garden waste is best processed at home, food waste can readily be turned into renewable energy and this is generally considered to be a good thing.

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