Edinburgh schools to recycle food leftovers

A lot of food is left over in the Capital's schools. Picture: Stephen Mansfield
A lot of food is left over in the Capital's schools. Picture: Stephen Mansfield
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SCHOOLS in the Capital are for the first time going to be required to collect their youngsters’ leftovers and have it ready to be recycled.

Environment chiefs will trial the city’s food waste recycling system at canteens in four of Edinburgh’s schools as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gases and reduce the cost of sending waste to landfill.

Two schools – Pentland and Sciennes primaries – have already been identified as guinea pigs for the plans.

If successful, the scheme will be rolled out across the Capital.The move comes ahead of Scottish Government targets, which will see every urban business or organisation in Scotland that processes, prepares or distributes food required to separate it from other waste.

Under new rules to be ­introduced in January, all premises including schools and canteens that are producing more than 50kg of food waste a week will have to present the leftovers for food collection.

Businesses producing more than 5kg a week will have to comply with the new regulations from January 2016.

The trial will be used to measure how much food waste is being produced by schools and how many times it will be picked up.

Colinton/Fairmilehead Councillor Jason Rust welcomed the announcement, saying: “Staff and parents have commented to me that there can be a lot of food waste in schools and there is some surprise that recycling of this has not been introduced yet.

“Paper and ink cartridges are recycled in most schools, but this is not possible for food waste. I am pleased the council has agreed to investigate this and look forward to hearing the results of the pilot so we can see if this is something which can be taken forward city-wide.”

Already, food waste produced in the city’s homes is recycled.

It is estimated one third of food produced a year worldwide is wasted.

A council report produced in March revealed in Edinburgh this equated to every household throwing away £450 a year.

City environment vice-convener Cllr Jim Orr said: “Recycling food waste leads to less rubbish being sent to landfill and therefore a reduction in the harmful emissions that this produces. It also provides a sustainable energy source.

“Recycling rates in Edinburgh are steadily increasing, but in order to meet our targets of recycling at least 50 per cent of our rubbish we all have to make more of an effort.

“Collecting leftover food from schools will send a fantastic message to pupils – the future generation of recyclers – about how easy it is to do.”

Sean Watters, chairman of Portobello For A New School, predicted that parents across ­Edinburgh would support the move.

Waste collected by the ­council is taken to Scottish Water Horizons Deerdykes Anaerobic Digestion facility in Cumbernauld.