For some of us, getting our food waste collected separately has become a part of our normal routine, but figures show that more 13 million households in the UK do not get their food waste collected separately. Yes, you read right… over 13 Million.
To address this problem, the UK Government have revealed plans in it’s Environment Bill stating that all households will have a separate food waste collection by 2023. Estimates show that this would reduce annual food waste in the UK by a staggering 1.35 million tonnes.
While these are ambitious plans, they are vital to reduce reducing the greenhouse gases created by rotting food waste in landfill.
There are many problems to overcome though. There are issues of practicality for people who live in high rise flats and perhaps an even greater problem to overcome would be to change the habits and mindset of people who either do not understand, or simply do not want to separate their food waste.
While the Government can enforce councils to change and improve their services, it may be a greater problem getting residents to engage.
A spokeswoman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: “Nobody wants to see good, nutritious food going to waste and harming our environment, which is why we’ve committed to eliminating food waste from landfill by 2030.
As part of this we will be working closely with local authorities to end confusion over household recycling and ensure food waste is routinely collected from every household, business and organisation across the country.”
Get the community involved
Perhaps the solution might be to encourage people to compost their own food waste through community composting sites. This has worked well with several community groups who run allotments or community farm gardens.
Not only does this offer a practical and accessible way for people to dispose of their food waste, but it also helps to make people aware of the problem and what both councils and communities are doing to try to resolve it.
An added advantage is that there is a positive end result. Unlike landfill where rubbish and food waste are taken to and forgotten about, with this solution you will actually see and experience and be able to make use of the nutritious, healthy compost that is produced.
Community groups could work with their local councils to have something like the Ridan Composting System installed in a shared public place, such as green areas or parks and take turns filling and operating the machine.
We need to play our part
It is good to see that the UK Government are taking the problem of food waste and associated greenhouse gases seriously and are actively looking for a solution, however we also need to accept that we are part of the problem and cannot rely solely on the Government or the local council for a solution. It is our food waste and needs to be disposed of responsibly.
We need to find ways to assist our councils or manage our own food waste ourselves. If you have a garden, or enough room, you can compost at home, but if not community composting might be the perfect solution. Let’s work together.
Here are some example:
- Composting in the community
- St Sidwell’s Community Group in Exeter
- Pentrebane Zone in South Wales
- Willows residential community
- Community city garden in the West Midlands
- Community food waste recycling at the Coast Café in Worthing