Food Waste – where do we go from here?

The Food Waste trial in Fetcham is coming to an end. MVDC have failed to provide an alternative and build on the experience gained from the trial. This is disappointing from a Council that likes to boast about it’s high recycling rate.

Anaylsis of the figures from DEFRA (November 2008) show that MVDC is 12th place for dry recycling, however, the council’s record on composting & food waste is poor in comparison. The overall position is that MVDC lies in 46th place out of all the English Local Authorities. The figures are:

  • Recycling : 32.81 %
  • Composting (inc Food Waste): 12.91%
  • Total 45.72% (leading councils are around 58%)

A quick check of the MVDC website does not give any further indication of what the future plans are. The link to the Food Waste Collection Trial is broken – even if the trial has ended, it would be useful to know the results & conclusions. The linked Local Waste Strategy document only looks as far as 2009 and curiously is named “draft_strategy.pdf”. What are the plans for the future? If you email the Recycling Officer at the email address given you do not get a reply – perhaps there is no officer or future plans to “Green up the Valley“.

Okay, MVDC signed the Nottingham Declaration & they claim to have an award for their website. However, it would be interesting to see how they plan to achieve the recycling rates that they lay out in the Sustainable Development Strategy Document (v6) In this document, the national targets for recycling are set as:

  • To recycle or compost at least 25% of household waste by 2005
  • To recycle or compost at least 30% of household waste by 2010
  • To recycle or compost at least 33% of household waste by 2015

MVDC aims a lot higher (probably because the district has almost hit the 2015 goal) by adopting the “Surrey Joint Municipal Waste ManagementStrategy (JMWMS) in October 2006. This strategy is covers municipal waste management in Surrey for the period 2006 to 2026”. This set targets of:

  • recycling and composting targets of 40% by the year 2010
  • recycling and composting targets of 50% by 2015
  • aspire to reach a long term target of 60% recycling and composting by 2025.

Now, there is some confusion here. What is the point of adopting these targets if Mole Valley is already at a 47% rate ? Further on in the Sustainability Strategy Document, the Community Action Plan states:

  • To exceed the government recycling and composting target of 30% – to 36% during 2006.
  • To reach 42% recycling rate by 2008.

You have to assume at this point that the document is due a revision to reflect the current state of recycling in the area. Most importantly, the document does not have any Commitment to Action on the subject of Food Waste. Obviously, individual can do more by not wasting as much & not rely on on our resource stretched Authorities. Folks can also use a Food Cone or a wormery. The Council actively encourages the first of these options, however, not everyone has the space or the know how to use these solutions and so a proposal for Food Waste needs to be put forward to put Mole Valley back at the top of the list of Green local authorities.

It would be nice to see the Leatherhead Residents Association actively pushing MVDC for answers on this topic.

Posted in Environment.