Turning waste food into watts

Published: Monday, 27th February 2017

Over the next two months Oxford City Council will be out and about visiting households to give out free food caddy liners and “no food waste” stickers for residents’ green rubbish bin as well as handing out food waste recycling leaflets and talking to residents about how they can recycle more of their food waste.

It’s all part of an initiative to highlight a change to the way that the City Council collects food waste for recycling. It no longer goes in with garden waste. Instead it is collected separately and taken for processing at a plant near Cassington where it is turned into electricity and fertiliser. The plant generates enough electricity for up to 4,200 homes - the equivalent of taking 71,000 cars off the road.

Councillor John Tanner, Board Member for a Clean and Green Oxford, said: “I want to send a big thank you to all those who already recycle their food waste - more and more of you are putting it into the green caddy for weekly collection. But still too much of this valuable resource is being chucked in the green rubbish bin and then incinerated. If it’s food it belongs in the caddy, not the green bin. Food waste is too valuable to waste. No amount is too small.”

The City Council is working with the other Oxfordshire councils and Agrivert, who process the county’s food waste. The aim is to recycle more food leftovers rather than throw them into the general rubbish. Over 20 per cent of the county’s food waste gets binned but the more that ends up in the food recycling bins, the more goes to Agrivert’s anaerobic digestion plant to produce electricity and fertiliser for local farmers. Recycling food waste can help save money too as it is two and a half times more expensive to dispose of food as waste, than to recycle it.

Last year households in Oxford City recycled 3,342 tonnes of food waste, the aim of this project is to encourage more participation and see if providing free liners gets more residents involved.