Lancashire adopts UK’s largest free home composting scheme

Lancashire County Council has announced that it is to distribute, free of charge, 100,000 compost bins to homes across the county over the next three years.

The project is being organised in conjunction with LWS Lancashire Environmental Fund, which is partly financed by landfill tax credits from Lancashire Waste Services Ltd, and the consultancy branch of Europe’s largest organic organisation, the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA).

Initially, bins will be delivered to targeted areas across the county, where householders will receive a letter inviting them to apply for a free compost bin. The project will also include activities to pass on information about composting, such as road shows, a quarterly newsletter for composting households, workshops and training for community volunteers.

“This is a very positive step which will help create many greener households in Lancashire,” said County Councillor and Cabinet Member for Community and Regeneration Brian Johnson. “This is the largest scheme of its kind in the country and the fact that it is free to take part is a real incentive.”

The volume of domestic waste being produced in Lancashire is steadily increasing, according to the County Council. In 1999/2000, Lancashire households produced 786,000 tonnes of rubbish, with an estimated 60% being organic, a rise of 56,000 tonnes from 1997/1998. Of this, 85% has been buried in landfills, 6% recycled, 6% reused, and only 3% composted. Lancashire’s municipal waste management strategy for 2001 to 2020 has set targets for 36%, 44% and 53% recycling and composting of household waste by 2005, 2010, and 2015 respectively.

“Composting is a simple process that happens everywhere, naturally,” said Project Liaison Officer Holly Tiffen. “Home composting enables householders to turn rubbish into something useful that can be used in the garden, the ultimate form of recycling. By making compost at home you can save money on expensive garden products, and improve the soil for growing your plants.”

LWS Lancashire Environmental Fund has at least £2.5 million available every year, and awards are made every quarter. The fund is divided into two levels: a Community Chest for small community based bids of up to £7,500; and the Strategic Fund which supports schemes of significant costs that have the potential to result in major environmental and public benefits. Since the organisation was founded in June 1998, it has allocated £7.5 million to environmental initiatives across the county.

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