£50m grants to deal with food waste

Local authorities in Wales will be handed £50m of grants in an effort to boost recycling of food waste.

The Welsh Assembly has announced how much each local authority will receive for 2008-09 under the Sustainable Waste Management Grants scheme.

The total amount of money available has been boosted by £15m compared to last year and ministers expect councils to spend the extra cash on preparing for separate collection and treatment of food waste.

Over the next two years, extra money allocated through the grants will be ring-fenced for food waste recycling and councils will be expected to recycle a certain amount of food waste.

Environment minister Jane Davidson said: "Increasing the amount they recycle will help local authorities meet their targets and reduce costs from increases in landfill tax.

"Food waste is an area of great potential and exploiting this will be essential if we are to continue increasing the amount of waste we recycle and divert from landfill.

"It is of particular importance in the fight against climate change because when deposited in landfill, food waste generates methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide."

Local authorities in Wales currently recycle or compost 33% of waste collected and must reach 40% by 2010 to meet EU landfill diversion targets and targets in the national waste strategy.

New longer term targets will also be set this year and Ms Davidson has already indicated that she would like to set a target of recycling or composting 70% of waste by 2025.

Monmouthshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Swansea Council are among local authorities that have already started food waste collections, while a number of others plan to start this year or early in 2009.

Kate Martin


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