Many Old Portsmouth residents are proud owners of new food caddies for separate weekly disposal of food waste. This was one of the areas selected in the city to pilot the service for six months and it’s been reported that over 22 tonnes of food waste was collected in the first 2 weeks alone. FOOPA committee members have been out monitoring local caddy converts to assess take-up. A preliminary assessment among eligible households in one geographical area of Old Portsmouth is suggesting an average 55% participation so far.
Portsmouth has introduced this because the Government recently launched plans to overhaul our waste system nationally to make sure Councils across the country offer residents similar waste disposal services and do what they can to increase recycling rates. Here’s an informative summary of the national picture: https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/defra-food-waste-actions/
Unfortunately, Portsmouth is one of the lowest performing local authorities in the region, recycling just 24.7% of our rubbish in the first quarter of 2019. This trial will hopefully start to see that figure shoot upwards, particularly as a Portsmouth Council survey found that 40% of our rubbish is food waste.
Apart from increased recycling, there are numerous benefits to using food waste caddies. The caddies have lockable lids, which means no more pavement mess made by pests, rodents and seagulls that costs the Council money to clear up every week. This is important to those of us who need to continue using bin bags instead of the new black plastic bins. For some households with food caddies, this now means only putting out a black bin or sack once a month at most.
Some of us either have garden composters or already pay for fortnightly brown bin garden waste collections. However both these are limited in what can be put in them, and many of us do not have the capacity or outdoor space. For a full list of what can go in the Food Caddies, please check here: https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/recycling-and-
rubbish/food-waste-trial – items range from meat bones, bacon rinds and peelings to cut flowers and shredded paper.
Residents may remember when food disposal units were the must-have gadget in any modern kitchen, a few local authorities even encouraged their use back in the 1980s. However putting food waste into the water sewer system has largely fallen out of favour for various legitimate reasons. While they may help reduce the amount of organic waste going into landfill, disposing of food waste in this way does have negative environmental impacts on water treatment management, but more importantly, food waste should be put to good use !
Our food waste is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant, where this natural process converts the waste into energy which can be fed back into the gas/electric grids, used as transport fuel and for agricultural fertilizer. Read more here: http://adbioresources.org/about- ad/how-ad-benefits-everyone/the-public/ Government sources state that “… Anaerobic
digestion (AD) represents the best environmental outcome for food waste that cannot be prevented … or be redistributed to others or, if this is not possible, used as animal feed. It provides both low carbon renewable energy and digestate, which can be used as fertiliser, compost, or soil improver.” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-and-
FOOPA expects the Council to do everything in its powers to promote the benefits of this scheme, including the potential savings it could generate, and encourage take-up by residents. Unfortunately the scheme is not currently being offered to people in flats, but this should change in the long-term. This pilot scheme will enable the Council to assess where any collection problems lie and thus improve chances of success when it is rolled out city-wide. If you have any suggestions about how the collections could be improved or how to motivate neighbours to become caddy users, please feedback your thoughts to the Council at email@example.com or email Anna Koor at FOOPA on firstname.lastname@example.org who will forward your comments to officers and ward councilors.