New food waste strategy a success

Peterborough City Council anticipates a 25 percent increase in domestic food waste tonnage, some 90 tonnes a month, along with annual cost savings of around £65,000, following a change in its recycling strategy.

Peterborough food caddy and linerAt the heart of the council’s new approach is a switch from biodegradable caddy liners to “significantly cheaper” standard plastic liners, allowing them to be distributed free of charge to all local residents, thereby encouraging more use of the food waste collection service. Supplied by Leeds based Cromwell Polythene, the 7-litre HDPE liners come in rolls of 40, each roll incorporating a ‘more bags please’ tag to enable re-ordering.

At the same time, advanced separation equipment at the local AD plant allows the caddy liners to be removed before the food waste is treated.

“Providing Peterborough’s 82,000 homes with the Cromwell liners free of charge is a viable option as the price of standard liners is significantly cheaper than biodegradable,” says Amy Nebel, the council’s recycling contracts officer. “Although it is early days, we have already seen an increase in the region of 25 percent in February’s tonnage compared to the same period last year.

“As for other cost savings, these will come from the avoidance of landfill and energy from waste disposal costs, as well as a lower gate fee at the AD facility as a result of us capturing more food waste for processing through an incentive provided by Biogen,” she adds.

Food waste from the Peterborough scheme is sent to a Biogen AD facility, where it is used to generate renewable electricity for the national grid and the remaining product turned into fertilizer for agriculture. The council is a leading recycler among local authorities and aims to be the environment capital in the UK. As a part of its Waste 2020 strategy, Peterborough is investing in facilities that will help residents re-use and recycle more than 65 percent of discarded household and garden materials, as well as providing a long-term, sustainable alternative to landfill.