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UK food recycling program taking shape

August 17, 2007 at 11:05 am

A number of Welsh county councils have begun food recycling programs. Rhondda Cynon Taf county borough council in South Wales is encouraging residents to recycle waste food by disposing of it in designated collection bins which have been provided by the local government.

Authorities were motivated to undertake this initiative following a successful pilot program at a local primary school. Food recycling programs have already been introduced elsewhere in Wales, namely in Llwydcoed in the Cynon Valley and Trealaw in the Rhondda region. Indeed, Rhondda council is currently leading the way when it comes to recycling in Wales, collecting nearly 600 tonnes of recyclable waste during the second week of July.

The food recycling scheme is to operate as follows. Residents can choose between two different types of collection bins. The first has a caddy design and can hold up to 10 cubic litres of garbage. Alternatively, homeowners can leave waste for collection in a 55 litre outdoor bin. Under the scheme, local authorities are able to collect almost any type of kitchen waste, from food wrappings and kitchen towels to teabags, bones and potato skins. Food waste is to be gathered separately from other commonly recyclable materials. This waste will then be converted into compost by a reprocessing firm in Gelligaer.

Food recycling programs have taken off in other parts of the United Kingdom as well. The London borough of Richmond has taken a number of steps to collect food waste for composting. London authorities also advise residents to compost refuse themselves. Residents are encouraged to create their own compost bins. Instructions on how to make one are available from the Richmond borough website.

A number of councils have also encouraged local schools to set up their own food recycling schemes. If you too would like to do so, then councils suggest that you stick to the following set of guidelines.

  • First, calculate how many scrap bins you will require. Where will you place these bins? Ideally, they should be positioned in an area that is frequented by many people.
  • Order the appropriate compostable bin liners. A number of borough councils provide these free of charge.
  • Collect scraps/food waste and deposit such refuse in the designated bins. These bins should be lined with the aforementioned bin liners. On the collection day, tie up the rubbish bags and ensure that the bin or skip is at the food waste collection point by 7 am.
  • Publicity is key. Inform staff, students and/or local residents about the program.

By following these simple steps, your community can do its bit to protect the environment.

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