Food waste collection trials carried out by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Partnership) found that local authorities using AWC recorded higher participation rates than those picking up non-recyclable rubbish every week.

One council, the London Borough of Bromley, switched to AWC during the trial and found participation rates shot up from just over half to more than three quarters.

Speaking at an MRW conference in London on Thursday, Chris Mills, from WRAP’s Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team, said: “Statistically, with a background of alternate weekly collection, we are finding a much higher rate of food waste collection.”

John Woodruff, head of waste services for Bromley, said the use of separate weekly food waste collections had helped to reduce public opposition to AWC.

“If your food waste is going weekly in a separate bin, there is not so much of a problem with the other waste, so it’s an easier sell,” he said.

WRAP’s food waste trials covered nearly 100,000 households across England and Northern Ireland.

The trials also found that residents were reluctant to use collections that combined food and garden waste, and that people throwing away out-of-date food frequently did not bother to take it out of its packaging.

Average participation was about 62%. Of those who did not participate, the main reasons were that residents believed they did not produce enough food waste, they were concerned about hygiene or vermin, or they composted at home.

David Mottershead, head of waste policy and processes at Defra, said Government still believed that anaerobic digestion was the best way to deal with food waste once it was collected.

“The UK needs the contribution from renewable energy that it can get through the anaerobic digestion of food waste,” he said.

He added that ministers were very pleased with the widespread and positive coverage that the Love Food Hate Waste campaign had received (see related story).

Kate Martin

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