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Food waste recycling roll out continues

Graphic of a pea with a smiley face, dressed in gym clothes and lifting weights in front of a spoonful of smiley peas

The borough’s successful food recycling scheme for houses will be rolled out to up to 1,800 flats in the borough from spring 2022.

The council’s decision-making Executive agreed to implement recommendations by the Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel at a meeting last night (Tuesday), meaning that up to 20% of flats will be included in the scheme from next year.

This will mean that an additional 1,800 properties will be included in the initiative, which has already seen 3,100 tonnes of food waste recycled since launching just 6 months ago.

Where possible, eligible flats will have individual kerbside food waste caddies rather than communal food waste bins. If individual bins are not possible, specialist communal bins will be provided to reduce the risk of different types of recycling and waste being mixed up. Food waste bins will be collected weekly; other recycling and waste collections will remain unchanged.

It will be offered to people living in flats that have adequate space for food recycling bin storage and collection and where recycling rates are already good.

The council has sought expert advice on how to roll out the food waste scheme to flats. As part of its investigation in to how the scheme could be introduced in flats, the Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel spoke to:

  • Waste and Resources Action Partnership (WRAP)
  • RE London
  • Suez
  • other local authorities

The council concluded that a partial implementation to the most suitable flats was the best option.

Residents of flats included in the scheme will be contacted directly by the council’s waste and recycling team during 2022, with information on how to get started and when. Further support and advice will be made available in the run up to the launch in the spring.

Cllr Mrs Dorothy Hayes MBE, Executive Member for Environment, said:

“Since we announced the launch of the food waste recycling scheme back in 2019 for houses, there has been lots of enthusiasm from residents in flats to be part of it.

“It is very exciting that 1,800 flats will be part of the scheme from next year and will be able to help us recycle more and be a bigger part of our climate change journey.

“We are still working through the criteria for which flats are eligible, so please do bear with us. Our waste and recycling team will be contacting eligible residents well in advance of the roll-out with more information and providing the opportunity to ask questions.

“Originally, we had hoped to roll this out to all flats, but expert advice showed that this may not be possible due to logistical issues including space for bin stores. Therefore, we will concentrate on the roll out to the 1,800 flats and keep under careful review any further properties that may be able to join the scheme at a later date.”

Food waste collected is taken to an anaerobic digestion plant where it is separated from any liner, macerated, and used to create electricity as well as fertiliser for crops. The introduction of the service has had even wider reaching effects, with Co2e (carbon dioxide equivalent emissions) prevented from entering the atmosphere due to the diversion away from landfill.

Alongside the launch of the food waste service for houses in March 2021 came the reduction in refuse waste collections, moving from every two weeks to every three weeks. As a result, we have already seen a 25% decrease in the amount of refuse waste collected, around 2,900 tonnes less than in 2019. It is estimated that food waste recycling from the 1,800 flats will increase recycling rates in Bracknell Forest by 0.2%. 

For more information, see our food waste in flats - recommendation report.