Food waste recycling pilot scheme in Edinburgh

Image caption,
Sealed lockable boxes will be issued to about 20,000 homes in Edinburgh

As many as 20,000 households in Edinburgh are to be issued with sealed lockable boxes so they can collect their food waste for recycling.

The pilot will cover a variety of housing types in the east of the capital in a bid to test the service.

If the project is successful food waste collections will be provided across the rest of the city, to about 250,000 houses.

About 50,000 tonnes of food waste is thrown out every year in the city.

World Heritage

The council hopes to collect 20,000 tonnes of food waste per year when the service is fully rolled out.

In addition, in the lead up to Christmas, a consultation with residents in the World Heritage area will look into particular waste solutions best suited to their property types.

The new waste and recycling project will work towards the target of increasing recycling in Edinburgh to 75% by 2020.

The council currently spends more than £7m per year on landfill tax. This is set to increase to £12m by 2014, if action is not taken to get more people to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Robert Aldridge, Edinburgh City Council's environmental leader, said: "Residents will actually see a difference in the level of service offered with more collections and much better provision of service.

"Food waste will be collected weekly and there will be more opportunity to recycle other household items.

"There is real potential for behavioural change. Lowering the amount of rubbish we send to landfill is everyone's responsibility. It reduces waste, helps the environment and saves money."

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland's director, said: "We welcome this step by Edinburgh to increase the range of recycling services it offers, particularly with materials like plastics and food waste, which have a high carbon impact.

"It is now important that members of the public get behind these new services. Food waste can be recycled into products which benefit Scottish farmers."

An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: "In East Renfrewshire, recycling food waste was introduced on a trial basis and the majority of residents have responded positively and none of the myths around increased vermin and smells have proven true.

"Since April 2008 almost 1,000 tonnes of food waste has been collected from approximately 4,000 homes and 69% of the trial area took part."

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