Capital to sink teeth into food recycling

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food waste recycling is to be rolled out to a further 120,000 homes in Edinburgh in the coming months, it was announced today.

It comes after a trial, introduced earlier this year, saw 20,000 properties in the east of the city start recycling unused food and leftovers.

During the four months it has been running, more than 100 tonnes of food waste have been recycled, following the distribution of 15,000 kerbside bins for low-rise homes, and a further 5000 communal bins for flats.

By next month, a further 15,000 bins are to be distributed to low-rise homes, and by March a total of 140,000 homes will have facilities for food recycling.

It is hoped that the whole city – 235,000 homes – will be able to recycle food by 2013.

The move is aimed at helping the council cut its landfill tax bill, and hit Scottish Government targets that will see a ban on binning biodegradable waste by 2017. It is also hoped to cut the council’s bills for processing waste, with a cost of £40 per tonne for food waste recycling, compared with £100 to send waste to landfill.

The scheme was due to be launched this morning in Royal Park Terrace by Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead. Over the four years of the scheme’s introduction, it will receive £2.4 million from the Scottish Government via Zero Waste Scotland.

City environment leader Councillor Robert Aldridge said: “In only four months, 20,000 households have recycled over 100 tonnes of food waste.

“The pilot’s success shows that it is possible to recycle food waste even if you live in city centres, flats and tenements. Thanks to support from Zero Waste Scotland, by the end of March next year 140,000 households will receive a food waste collection service. By 2013, we hope to complete the roll-out to the majority of Edinburgh households, which is around 235,000 homes.”

Food waste collected in Edinburgh is taken to Scottish Water’s Deerdykes anaerobic digestion facility in Cumbernauld for processing. It can be recycled into compost products, replacing chemical-based fertilisers, or, if suitably treated, can produce a biogas, for use as a renewable energy source. The council hopes that in future it may be possible to treat the waste in Edinburgh.

Chair of environmental lobby group Greener Leith, Charlotte Encombe, welcomed the news of the recycling roll-out. She said: “Everything that goes into landfill, they pack it in so no oxygen can get into it, no water, can get into it, they want it to be stable, so it doesn’t degrade. So even if you’re putting apples in the bin, they’re not going to degrade very well. Anything you put in your general waste is going to landfill, which is a big risk.

“If they can do these big recycling schemes for people who don’t have compost heaps, that’s a good thing.”

sgyford@edinburghnews.com

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