Helping Councils boost recycling rates for food and garden waste

James Lee explores simple steps that can be taken to reduce food and garden waste waste

You don’t need to look too far to read a headline about our food waste crisis, and the importance of improving or even just maintaining wider recycling rates. We all know that food waste can be collected and effectively handled and disposed of through composting and anaerobic digestion, yet so much still needlessly ends up in landfill.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK we throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. In addition, figures from WRAP show that while most food waste is generated from households, 30% comes from away-from-home settings like the hospitality industry, retail, manufacturing and more.

This volume of waste is a significant environmental issue, not just in terms of having to deal with the material itself when it’s disposed of, but also the energy, land, transport emissions and the like, that are wasted in producing the food in the first place.

Not all food waste can be eaten, however and even the most assiduous shopper or chef will have to dispose of bones and peelings for example. It is important that this waste is kept separate from other waste streams and there is a clear challenge to improve segregation rates. This is where compostable bags and our anaerobic digestion AD friendly range come in to play. These products are designed to make it easy for consumers, businesses and local authorities to deal with the waste appropriately and with the lowest environmental impact.

Award-winning schemes
Here at Cromwell Polythene, we help facilities and local councils to manage and improve food waste collections, including supporting Rochdale Borough Council’s award-winning food waste management plan. A new food waste initiative introduced by the Council in 2015 led to a dramatic 70 per cent increase in bio-waste collections during the first three months of the new service.

We produce a range of compostable caddy liners in all standard sizes that can support food waste management strategies. Manufactured from biodegradable plastic, using starch or lactide-based derivatives of plant sources, these products are fully compliant with the European composting standard, which requires more than 90% of the plastic mass to convert into biomass, CO2 and water, with no harmful residue.

Liners are also available for garden waste, where heat levels and bacteria within compost piles and bins provide the perfect environment for biodegradability. These bags come in stock sizes from 80 litres, suitable for a standard dust bin, through to 240 litres for wheeled bins. Ecopond® compostable bags fully decompose within 6-10 weeks in a compost environment.

There are plenty of simple steps like these that individuals and organisations of every size can take to make a difference and help improve recycling rates.

NB: Non-LARAC bloggers are expressing their own views and not those of LARAC