Food waste plans may go on hold

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Food waste plans may go on hold

Costs and the recession mean that plans to introduce food waste recycling across the Stroud District are likely to be put on hold.

Members of Stroud District Council's Cabinet will next week consider a report on the future of recycling. The introduction of food waste recycling across the district would cost £2.36m a year. "With the pressure on the Council's budget and resources, we simply cannot afford this expenditure," says Cllr Elisabeth Bird, Cabinet Member for the Environment. "It would either mean significant cuts to other services or unrealistic council tax increases every year for many years." The council is also faced with a collapse in the sale of recycled materials which means it is losing income of around £130,000 a year.

If the report is accepted, the award-winning Stanleys recycling trial will come to an end in late April. The trial was launched in October 2007, and involved the weekly collection of foodwaste and recyclables, alongside fortnightly collections of landfill refuse. In a survey last year, an amazing 93% of residents expressed satisfaction with the scheme.

"With the support of residents, the trial has been a fantastic success," said Cllr Bird. "The Stanleys trial has been a success, with higher recycling rates, lower waste to landfill and a national award for community involvement. It has demonstrated what a new waste collection and recycling service could look like. In the absence of any certainty regarding the future, we cannot justify continuing a relatively small scheme that does not achieve economies of scale."

"We are really disappointed that the council isn't able to continue with food waste recycling at the moment," said Brian Walker of Middleyard, a member of the community focus group which helped shape the trial. "The trial has done its job and proved the case. The council's decision is understandable - all we can do is look forward to an improvement in the financial position."

There is some good news, however. Whilst the council cannot currently afford food waste recycling, it is working on the installation of recycling banks which can accept all plastics. "Although it's early days, this will be an exciting development," said Cllr Bird. "All our surveys tell us that this is something people really want." The council is also looking to install more cardboard banks and to set up more community composting schemes along the lines of the one in Bisley.

Cllr Bird concluded "We want to thank all the people in the Stanleys for their involvement. They have ensured the trial has been successful. They have highlighted the need for better recycling of cardboard and all plastics. In the meantime we encourage everyone to recycle more using our kerbside collections and recycling banks."

Posted : 05/03/2009 20:51:31

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