Almost 400,000 Essex households to be targeted in food waste reduction bid

Almost 400,000 Essex households will be handed a package of goods to change the way they put food in a bin.

The Food Waste Recycling project aims to work with waste collection authorities in Essex to deliver a one-off package of, a leaflet, a roll of food caddy liners and a ‘no food waste’ bin sticker to almost 391,500 “suitable households” at a cost of £763,000 over four years.

The idea comes as Essex County Council attempts to reduce the amount of waste – currently 725,000 tonnes of waste a year is being disposed of, with at least half of this waste currently going to landfill sites.

Not only is landfill environmentally harmful, through the release of methane gas and carbon dioxide, it is an expensive and inefficient way of disposing of waste.

With around 1.5 million residents in Essex and the number of households in Essex set to increase in the next 20 years, the waste produced in Essex is also set to rise.

Landfill, gate fee tax and other costs mean that throwing waste away is costing around £155 per tonne.

The project is estimated to deliver at least a 10 per cent increase in the amount of food waste recycled, at net cost saving of £748,000 to Essex County Council over the course of four years.

If there was a 15 per cent increase in food waste recycled the net cost saving over the same period would be around £1.5m.

A case study from Dorset Council that rolled out a project delivering: a roll of food caddy liners, a leaflet, and a bin sticker placed on the residual waste bin resulted in a 19 per cent increase in food waste recycled.

A statement as part of a Essex County Council decision paper said: “The council needs to accelerate the progress already made to ensure that the target of sending no waste to landfill by 2030 is achieved, which supports the national target to achieve 65 per cent recycling by 2035.

“Recycling rates must continue to increase so that as much waste as possible is recycled. Waste reduction is a key focus for the Circular Economy team at ECC, who have a current project running that aims to encourage households to reduce the amount of food they waste.”

However, with around 26 per cent of food waste still ending up in the residual waste bin (otherwise known as black bag waste or general rubbish), the Food Waste Recycling project presents another opportunity to shift food waste from the residual waste bin to existing food waste recycling collections.

This aims to be achieved through a ‘tried and tested’ project that delivers successful and sustained behaviour change.”


Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter