Food waste reduction saves £200,000

Staff members from Mid and East Antrim.
Staff members from Mid and East Antrim.

A campaign aimed at substantially reducing the amount of food waste sent to landfill has saved council £200,000.

Changes to food waste collections came into effect throughout the borough back in April, with residents urged to dispose of food waste into brown bins as opposed to black.

And at a meeting of council last Tuesday, elected members were told of the “overwhelmingly positive response” from householders to date.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, said afterwards: “So far, Council has received more than 5,000 requests for brown bins and in excess of 7,500 requests for food caddies.

“This is a phenomenal response from our residents and I commend them for their overwhelming support and making the switch from black to brown bins.

“This saves ratepayers’ money and also combats environmental damage.

“It costs twice as much to dispose of food waste in a black bin as it does to recycle food waste from a brown bin.

“Unwanted food that ends up in landfill is the most polluting type of waste due to the release of harmful gases.

“Rather than pollute the environment, that waste is increasingly being put to a great use in Mid and East Antrim as high quality compost which is then made available to our residents.

Director of Operations at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Philip Thompson, added: “From April to June 2017, dry recyclables increased by 77 tonnes in the kerbside box scheme, compared to the same period last year.

“There was also a reduction in landfill tonnage of 1,378 for those three months of 2017 compared to last year.”

“We are delighted to having recorded a significant increase in organic recycling throughout this period, with more and more residents recycling their food and garden waste.

“The majority of residents have backed the changes and ensured food waste is placed in their brown bins.”

Council waste collectors have been monitoring the contents of bins and placing advisory stickers on those black bins found to be contaminated with food waste.

Householders are advised to line their food caddy with a biodegradable bag, packs of which are delivered free to homes three times a year.

Once full, the bags can be dropped into the brown bin for collection.

For more information or advice on food waste recycling, please contact 0300 124 5000 or email recycling@midandeastantrim.gov.uk. Alternatively, details are available at www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/recycling