November 22, 2008

British food waste collections debated

British city governments say they want separate collections for household food scraps to be extended across the country in a bid to reduce landfill.

Of the 434 municipal governments, or local councils, across Britain, 113 now collect food waste separately and send it to facilities to be recycled into compost rather than adding it to burgeoning landfills. The Local Government Association says the programs should be expanded across the country, but critics warn of higher costs and too-infrequent collections leading to odors and pests, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

In some areas where residents put food waste into separate curbside caddies, collections sometimes are two weeks apart, allowing waste to fester and attract flies, critics say, adding that food scrap recycling also adds to local tax bills.

With council tax bills putting such a heavy burden on families already suffering from the recession, councils must be extremely careful about the potential cost of this scheme, Mark Wallace, campaign director at the Taxpayer's Alliance, told the Telegraph.

But the LGA disputes that, saying food waste collections have proven popular and are a vital way of meeting EU requirements on reducing landfill volumes.