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Portsmouth City Council is developing plans to double Portsmouth’s food waste recycling scheme from September.

Plans to expand the current food waste trial scheme will be under consideration as part of Portsmouth City Council’s budget allocation. It is the next step towards a city-wide food waste collection scheme and will see up to two-thirds of households in Portsmouth included from September 2021.

The plans will double the number of homes taking part in the scheme, which will be extended until September 2022.

Almost 24,000 homes in the city are currently taking part in the food waste recycling trial at the end of the second phase. The first wave of the food waste trial was launched in September 2019 and was expanded to the second wave from September 2020. Food waste collections from homes involved in the first two waves of the trial is set to continue for a further 12 months from September 2021.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:

“I am delighted to be able to put forward proposals to double the number of homes involved in the Portsmouth food waste trial. We’ve seen fantastic results since its launch 18 months ago and it’s a testament to the residents’ participation in the scheme. There clearly is an appetite in Portsmouth to increase our recycling efforts.

“Recycling is a big issue locally and nationally. Food waste is where we can make a really big difference, as it’s food waste that makes up a huge amount of people’s weekly rubbish collection.

“We’ve introduced carton recycling banks, extra glass banks and can hopefully expand this food waste trial.”

Cllr Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader of the council, said:

“We are keen to improve opportunities for residents to recycle more. A city-wide separate food waste collection could improve not only the recycling in the city by as much as 8%, but also reduce carbon emissions by around 36 tonnes per year. There are so many benefits to recycling food waste and we are excited to give residents the opportunity to help make our city cleaner and greener.”

In the first full year of the trial, 812 tonnes of waste have been diverted to food waste recycling.

During the trial, people in selected areas are putting waste food into kitchen caddies. The waste is collected weekly alongside their rubbish collection. Instead of being incinerated, the waste is recycled and turned into energy, fuel and fertiliser. There has been a good up-take of the scheme with between 42% and 61% of households in the trial areas taking part each week.

Once collected, the food waste is being transported in bulk to a plant for treatment – it is converted into biogas and used to generate electricity, heat or transport fuels. It also creates a nutrient-rich fertiliser which can be used for agriculture and in land regeneration.

The plans to recycle food waste were proposed after a waste analysis in autumn 2018 showed that 40% of black bag waste is made up of food waste, most of which is avoidable.

The new proposals are part of the council’s budget spending plans. The proposed capital programme for 2021-22 will go before the council’s cabinet for endorsement on 2 February and should that be successful, will be presented to full council for final sign-off on 9 February.

The proposed strategy is due to be published today [Monday 25 January 2021]. It can be seen at democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk or by searching ‘meetings’ at www.portsmouth.gov.uk and following the links to the Full Cabinet meetings at 12:00 pm on 2 February.

Read more about the food waste trial.