PLASTIC FREE HOME: Waste Not Want Not

With David Lamont

David LamontLast week Wokingham Borough Council provided an update on its recently launched food waste recycling scheme. And it made for very positive reading.

Describing the scheme’s first month of operation as a “huge success”, the Council confirmed that an incredible 383 tonnes of food waste had been collected in the past month. That’s the equivalent of more than 53 African elephants, 32 double decker buses or, more tellingly, around 65,000 full rubbish bags!

As the Council explained: “The public have played a significant role in reducing Wokingham Borough’s carbon footprint. As a result of local people’s efforts and enthusiasm for the new food waste recycling scheme, more than 640 tonnes of polluting greenhouse gases have been prevented from entering the atmosphere through landfill. To put that into perspective, you’d have to run the average UK household for 157 years to produce 640 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The food waste so far collected will instead be turned into over 100 tonnes of compost, hundreds of litres of natural fertiliser for agricultural use, and tonnes of harvested biogas, used as a source of renewable energy for homes and businesses.

Quite an impact then!

The above achievements are just the beginning and exactly why I get very frustrated when I hear people say (or writing on social media) that they don’t support or participate in the scheme. Quite frankly, why wouldn’t you?

Reasons given often include: “I think that the bins are too small”, “I don’t have the time”, “I don’t like the idea”, “it will attract rats and “I’ve seen the ‘bin men’ throwing the food waste in with my normal rubbish.”

Clearly the latter isn’t a significant issue, given the above figures, so move on. The Council has reiterated that if used correctly, the containers are designed to be ‘rat proof’. Make time, remain open minded and reduce your food waste through measures ranging from portion control to home composting. It’s simple really!

Wokingham Borough Council’s figures have highlighted that 30% of our blue bag rubbish is food waste. So the potential to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill is significant. The Council aims to reduce the current figure by half, to just 15%. From 2020 substantial fines will be introduced for local authorities not meeting targets set out by the government.

Reducing the amount of waste going into landfill of course also reduces the amount of Methane being released from landfill sites into the atmosphere. Methane is a damaging greenhouse gas and a factor in global warming and climate change. Instead, through the food waste scheme, this Methane can be harnessed and used as a fuel. Even the caddy liners are recycled and used to generate electricity.

For more information, visit www.wokingham.gov.uk and please play your part.

For more tips and advice, join the online group at www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk

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Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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