WHEN it comes to food waste, Stratford and Warwick districts are ahead of the game.
The Environment Act 2021, which comes fully into effect on April 1 this year, introduces changes to waste collection which mean that recyclable household waste – including food waste – must be collected separately from other household waste. Food waste itself must be collected separately, at least once a week.
But Stratford District Council and Warwick District Council introduced a new joint separate food collection service on August 1 – nine months before the legal requirement.
The 123+ service has been delivered through a waste contract with Biffa Waste Services Ltd and has already proved highly successful.
Since the inception of the scheme in August 2022, a total of 4,412.48 tonnes of waste has been collected.
The Stratford and Warwick household food waste is treated at Severn Trent Green Power’s Coleshill anaerobic digestion facility. Anaerobic digestion is a process through which specialist bacteria break down organic matter – such as food waste – in the absence of oxygen and produce biogas.
The Coleshill facility can treat up to 50,000 tonnes of household and commercial food waste each year, which is enough to generate 2.4 Megawatts of electricity.
The biogas produced from this process is either converted to electricity and exported to the national electricity grid or further treated and exported to the national gas grid, supplying homes and businesses with renewable energy. In addition, the process also creates a nutrient-rich liquid bio-fertiliser which is used by UK farmers to help grow the fruit and vegetables that end up back on our plates.
The forecast food waste tonnage for this contract means that Warwickshire residents will be powering the equivalent of 1,024 homes for a year with green energy. This is also the equivalent of 8,997 tonnes of carbon not emitted to the atmosphere compared to the same amount of food waste going into landfill.
SDC environment spokesman Coun Bill Fleming said: “We are proud to be proactive in collecting food waste so far ahead of the legal requirement to do so.
“But while we have worked with partners to help reduce food waste, a certain amount is inevitable, so it’s wonderful that so many residents are using the new service and recycling, and renewable energy is coming from it while landfill waste is kept to a minimum. A real win-win.”
WDC’s neighbourhood services spokeswoman Coun Moira-Ann Grainger added: “The new 123+ waste and recycling service has been a real game changer for our district, significantly increasing recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.
“It is important that we all do what we can to reduce the impact we have on the environment and the switch to weekly food waste collections means that our left-over food is now put to other uses such as making fertiliser or generating electricity rather creating harmful greenhouse gases. I want to extend our thanks to local residents who have played such an important part in the success of the new service.”