Food waste recycling bid put on hold

Plans to increase recycling rates in south Norfolk are set to be put on hold after council officials reviewed the cost of a food waste collection trial.

Plans to increase recycling rates in south Norfolk are set to be put on hold after council officials reviewed the cost of a food waste collection trial.

South Norfolk Council had been looking to follow Broadland's lead by introducing an additional weekly kerbside collection service, which would divert food scraps away from landfill.

But leaders this week said they were looking to put a proposed trial in Wymondham on ice as a result of the extra cost to households and impact on council finances.

The Conservative controlled authority, which pledged to become the best in the country for recycling three years ago, is currently 1.2pc below the 40pc national recycling target.

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However, a 6,000 home food waste initiative in Wymondham would cost the council �27 per household in the first year and �19 per household in the second year. The new figures have prompted officers to call for the scheme to be put on hold for six to 12 months as a result of a lack of funding.

Members are being asked to keep a 'watching brief' until the council knows the national political agenda for waste policy after the general election and the impact on local authority finances.

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David Bills, cabinet member for the environment, health and recycling at South Norfolk, said he was monitoring closely Broadland District Council's food waste trial, which has received government funding to cover 10,000 homes on the edge of Norwich.

He added that the council was looking at opportunities to share services with Breckland Council and other members of the Norfolk Waste Partnership to deliver the scheme.

'It is a difficult one. I am sure it would increase recycling rates, but if you look at the various rates, the cost of actually collecting it is fairly high.'

'It would look good to collect food waste, but if we said it would cost another �20 to �25 per household a year, it would not go down so well. With the economic situation we have to wait and see,' he said.

Around 31pc of refuse in south Norfolk is classed as food waste. A new dedicated collection would reduce the amount of landfill and greenhouse gases by sending food scraps to anaerobic digestion plants to create renewable energy.

In a report to councillors, Alexandra Bone, senior environment officer, added that the costing of a joint scheme in Breckland with an extra 5,300 homes in Attleborough had not worked out cheaper.

'The authority needs to be certain it has the funds to roll out and maintain such a scheme before introducing a trial. It would be very damaging to our reputation to introduce a scheme and then remove it again,' she said.

South Norfolk's environment, health, and recycling overview sub-committee will discuss the recommendations on Monday.

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