Defra, the bit of the government that covers waste policy, has just consulted on a new national approach to dealing with waste. Rather than explain Southwark's plans for garden waste, it raises fundamental questions about them: see pp26-31 in
First Defra suggests that "each household should be supplied with a fortnightly collection service for garden waste and that this service should be free of charge". Surely it's crazy for Southwark go through the hassle of introducing garden waste charges if the government is about to require it NOT to charge?!?
"Given the dispersal of subscribers across an authority, collection services for charged collections may be more inefficient and represent a higher cost per household serviced than when there is high participation in a free service. This is because vehicles might have further to travel between pickups and collect less material overall. In addition, monitoring of garden waste capture rates across the various disposal and recycling routes suggests that following the introduction of charging, large proportions of garden waste may be entering the residual waste stream.
... Our estimates are that if every householder with a garden had access to a free garden waste collection service then overall household recycling rates would increase by 6% points compared to their current levels, reducing the risk of this material ending up in landfill."
While that 6% figure is likely to be less in an inner London borough with many flats, there's still likely to be a net negative impact on the borough's recycling rate, which has been stagnating recently.
Second on food waste: "We therefore propose to require that from 2023, all local authorities offer all households separate weekly food waste collection. Generally food waste should be presented separately from garden waste, so that the food waste can ideally be sent to anaerobic digestion" (AD)
This is suggested because:
"When collected with garden waste, food waste cannot be sent to AD and is sent to in-vessel composting. Unlike AD, in-vessel composting does not produce biofuel for energy generation and is a comparatively more expensive waste treatment option. On the other hand, mixed food and garden waste collections can be more convenient as it does not require separate arrangements for collection of food and garden waste... [But] Technologies like in-vessel composting (IVC) and mechanical biological treatment (MBT) require mixed organic feedstocks with some amount of food waste to work optimally, and it is possible that separate collection of food waste may compromise the viability of these technologies....Where practicable, we would expect authorities that normally use IVC treatment for mixed food and garden waste to allow householders to present food waste separately and then to have this mixed with garden waste at kerbside, transfer station or treatment facility to meet long term contractual commitments to in-vessel composting facilities"
Are separate collections really practical for the whole borough though?
Southwark could simply collect food waste separately (e.g.flats in north of borough) from those areas where most homes have gardens, hence combined garden & food waste (e.g. ED and further south). Southwark is locked into a waste contract to 2033 with Veolia. The hassle and cost (financial and also environmental) of separate collection of garden & food waste, remixing the contents of our bins outside our front doors etc. is unlikely to outweigh the benefits, especially if food waste can be reduced through behaviour change campaigns. So surely worth waiting what the govt decides, rather than sending out lots of separate food caddies?
All in all seems Southwark's waste & cleansing department has made an almighty mess! Who will clear things up?
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was 2019:05:31:13:12:57 by rollflick.