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Food Waste Collection to End as part of County Council Savings Measures

John Freeman

Food waste in the Lancaster district will no longer be collected and taken away for recycling soon, following a decision made by Lancashire County Council to change the way that garden waste is composted.

Residents who have been recycling food waste in their green bins along with their garden waste, or putting it out for collection in the specially provided caddy, should either put their food waste in their grey bins or compost it at home.

Although the collections will not officially end until April, the Council told virtual-lancasterpeople may as well make the change now.

"This will ensure that by the time the changes do come into force, there will be less chance of green waste being contaminated by food waste," a spokesperson explained.

The change has been made because mixing food waste in with garden waste means it has to be sent to special indoor composting facilities, where the composting takes place at a controlled temperature. This is necessary to kill any bacteria in the food waste and control the potential spread of disease like foot and mouth.

With food waste accounting for only around one per cent of the mixed food and green waste collected from households, there are more cost-effective options available to deal with green waste if the food waste is removed.

The indoor facilities are therefore closing and Lancashire County Council will save money by taking your garden waste to an outdoor composting facility.

County Councillor Clare Pritchard, Lancashire County Council lead member for waste, said: "The very severe financial situation facing the county council means we need to take advantage of more cost-effective ways to process some types of waste.

"Our current processing facilities were designed to prevent organic waste being landfilled, as landfill taxes at the time meant it would cost vastly more to continue landfilling organic waste. However, the government abolished the penalty for landfilling organics in 2013.

"At the same time, people are throwing far less food away, meaning the proportion of organics in our waste has greatly declined, leaving us with a process which is costly to process a relatively small proportion of organic waste.

"We will continue to compost green waste, but to allow us to do this it's vital that people no longer put their food waste in the same bin."

Coun David Smith, Lancaster City Council Cabinet member with responsibility Environmental Services, said:  “Due to massive reductions in Government funding we are by now all well aware of the need to make cuts to services at both district and county level.

“We know this was a service valued by many and the fact it can no longer be provided reflects well the precarious financial situation councils have been placed in.”