Now in its second year, Warwickshire’s Grey to Green food waste recycling campaign has achieved an astounding 71% increase in food waste capture rates coupled with disposal and treatment savings of nearly £450,000 a year. Meanwhile nearly 15,000 households have actively pledged to recycle all their food waste, and annual CO2 equivalent savings are estimated to be around 3,000 tonnes.
Thanks to the campaign, 21% of household food waste is now being correctly captured at the kerbside. Food waste now going into the average Warwickshire co-mingled garden / food waste green wheeled bin has increased from 0.41 Kg per household per week in 2014 to 0.7 kg in spring 2016.
On the performance indicator BVPI 82b (Percentage of household waste arisings which have been sent by the Authority for composting or treatment by Anaerobic Digestion), Warwickshire was already ranked 2nd out 21 English Shires and is poised to take pole position.
Originally tested and piloted with the slogan ‘Did you feed your green bin today?’ Warwickshire Waste Partnership’s Grey to Green campaign encouraged residents to recycle their food waste. The promotion included an online food waste challenge and a pledge to ‘place all my cooked and uncooked food waste in my green wheeled bin’. Meanwhile the operation was internally codenamed ‘Grey to Green’ as the behaviour change objective was to divert food waste from the grey (or black) residual waste bin to the green wheeled bin. Co-mingled green garden and food waste from all five Warwickshire Waste Collection Authorities is processed at two In Vessel Composting (IVC) processing plants in Ufton (Warwickshire) and Daventry (Northamptonshire).
With the revised slogan ‘Have you fed your green bin today?’ thousands of Warwickshire residents were engaged through Press & PR, e-marketing and social media, outdoor and radio advertising plus targeted door-to-door canvassing, printed bin hangers and Refuse Collection Vehicle (RCV) advertising panels. The 2015 Food Waste Challenge to win one of three iPads attracted more than 11,000 entries and harvested more than 3,000 subscribers to the new Recycle for Warwickshire enewsletter. As an incentive to take up the challenge, each entrant could claim a FREE trial pack of compostable kitchen caddy liners ‘while stocks last’. The stock of 5,000 liner packs was exhausted more than a week before the challenge closing date.
The Food Waste Challenge was repeated in March 2016 with a range of prizes donated by DHL Envirosolutions, Warwickshire businesses and local visitor attractions.
Some of the startling facts and figures highlighted during the promotion included:
- There is enough food waste in residents’ dustbins to fill Warwick Castle to a depth of 4 metres!
- Placing food waste into the green wheeled bin (together with green garden waste) instead of the general waste bin could save Warwickshire tax payers up to £2 million a year in disposal costs.
On Warwickshire County Council’s Food Waste webpage (www.warwickshire.gov.uk/foodwaste) is a step-by-step video showing what happens to the food waste from a resident’s kitchen caddy and the kerbside collection through to IVC processing, and finally the nutrient-rich finished compost being spread on local farmers’ fields.
Food Waste Recycling Leaflet
RESULTS OF WARWICKSHIRE’S GREY TO GREEN CAMPAIGN
- Waste composition analysis has shown an upsurge in food waste being diverted from grey to green bins plus a staggering 71% increase in food waste capture rates (from 0.41 kg per household per week in 2014 to 0.7 kg in 2016). Analysis has also confirmed that 21% of food waste is being correctly captured (recycled) by Warwickshire households – up from 16% in 2015.
- By 2015, the amount of food waste going into the average Warwickshire dustbin was down by nearly 29 kg a year – coinciding with an increase of 15.6% in the amount of co-mingled food waste and garden waste being sent for In Vessel Composting (IVC).
- Warwickshire is saving an estimated £444,116 in annual disposal costs through IVC treatment of food waste (compared to landfill) – thus avoiding 3,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year.
- The county is predicting a trend-bucking 54.9% recycling rate for 2015/16 thanks to initiatives such as food waste challenges which have seen 14,453 households actively pledging to recycle all their food waste. Coincidentally, Warwickshire looks set for a 0.7% INCREASE in its recycling rate for the year in question while England as a whole is on course for a disappointing 0.7% DECREASE.
- Food waste challenges have also generated a 10-fold increase in Social Media followers plus nearly 5,000 subscriptions to the Recycle for Warwickshire e-newsletter.
- The 2015 (Year 1) phase of the Grey to Green campaign is shortlisted in the Best Food Waste Initiative category at the MRW National Recycling Awards 2016.
- WRAP has confirmed that Warwickshire appears to be collecting 40% more than the average authority (0.5 kg per household per week) for fortnightly mixed collections of garden / food waste.