In 2015 the 'Food Waste Regulations' were introduced, hence Councils had to provide the means to provide a kerbside food waste collection to all households throughout the district. This had the potential to place a huge strain on Council budgets.
Given its demographics and the fact that Fermanagh and Omagh is the largest Council district in terms of land mass with the smallest population, this dispersed nature means it is difficult and costly to service.
The Council commissioned WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) to carry out an options appraisal. Separate food waste collections in rural areas was identified as the most viable option to enable the Council to be compliant with food waste regulations in NI.
Funding was secured for POD vehicles, caddies, and communication requirements as well as the purchase of two separate food waste vehicles for areas deemed hard to reach. The Council diverts approx. 1,500 tonnes of food waste per annum. The food waste that is collected is then processed to create energy by Granville Eco Park via an anaerobic digestion process.
Diverting food waste from landfill turns waste into a resource. It has significant carbon saving benefits, reducing greenhouse gases, in particular methane. The Council also promotes reduction at source initiatives including providing free home compost bins and Love Food, Hate Waste promotional activities.
The Council identified stakeholders which included householders, businesses, schools, and reprocessors.
The Council then contacted WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) to carry out an options appraisal to identify the most cost effective option for the district given its unique demographics, and the fact that the district is largely rural in nature.
Consideration of our research and engagement identified separate food waste as the most viable option. We proceeded to identify funding opportunities and received funding from the DAERA Rethink Waste initiative.
Engagement with residents was undertaken through an extensive communications plan including leaflets, bin stickers, calendars, PR in local papers, Council website promotion, the Binovation App, and social media, and a ministerial promotional visit was arranged. This communication and promotion campaign is still ongoing for participation and engagement purposes.
It is important for organisations to look at what is the most sustainable collection method for their area, demographics, the set up and ongoing service costs as well as taking into account any relevant current legislation.
An important tool has been number of FAQs, provided on our Council website and given to our administration staff to answer queries that arise.
The supply of compostable liners has been crucial to ensure ongoing public participation in the scheme. It has also been vital to promote information, by outlining what happens to waste, people are able to appreciate the benefits to their local community as well as cost savings.
Number of households from which food waste is collected.