Aberdeenshire Council are asking residents across the shire to make the most of food waste recycling service over the festive period.
Many people will consume and dispose of more food at Christmas and New Year than at any other time.
At the moment, nearly a quarter of all waste put into landfill bins by households in Aberdeenshire is food waste – but it can be recycled.
If the food really can’t be used, it can go in food recycling bins provided to almost every household in the area and collected weekly.
Collected food is processed by local firms and goes on to become compost which can be used on crops, rather than decomposing in landfill sites, negatively impacting the environment.
Most households should have dedicated food waste caddies for this purpose – one indoor, one outdoor – as part of new services rolled out in recent years.
Despite this, recent analysis of waste collected from the area showed food waste is the main item still left in general waste bins at 22.1% of the total contents. Of that, 12.3% is food still in its packaging.
Food still in its packaging can be unwrapped and recycled, rather than going straight to landfill, and the packaging recycled where possible.
Last year around 83,600 tonnes of general waste was landfilled in Aberdeenshire at a cost of around £10million.
Not only is landfilling expensive, double the cost of mixed dry waste or food waste recycling, there are obvious environmental impacts and it will be banned in Scotland from 2021.
The latest figures from Zero Waste Scotland show that in 2013, Scotland wasted 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink – 600,000 tonnes of that was generated by households.
While a lot of food waste is unavoidable, such as egg shells, tea bags, bones, coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable peelings, all of this material can go in the food waste caddy too.
We have what is considered to be an excellent service, giving households a great opportunity to maximise their recycling and minimise their effect on the environment and we want people to make the most of it,
The sheer quantity of food waste currently going to landfill and its environmental impact means that we all have to rethink our approach to dealing with it, and we do offer services which can help.
said Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Roads, Landscape Services and Waste Management, Philip McKay.
Obviously the best way to reduce food waste is to buy only what’s needed and use it all, but that’s not always possible and most people inevitably have some left over.
If leftover food simply can’t be used in any other way, it’s really very easy to make sure it doesn’t go to landfill – put it in your food waste caddy and we’ll collect it.
If you don’t have a food waste caddy, or you think there something is stopping you making full use of the service, we have community waste officers who can provide assistance, or simply call Wasteline on 03456 081207 for help.
Waste Manager, Sue Horrobin
Of course food isn’t of the only type of waste which increases in the festive period – card, paper, bottles and even batteries can all be recycled using the collection services available.
More information on how to take full advantage of Aberdeenshire’s food waste collection service, including what can be recycled, visit the Aberdeenshire Council website.