10:10am Sunday 25th August 2013
By Tom Edwards
SHOULD Worcester City Council team up with Malvern or Wychavon to share the costs for running food waste collections?
That’s the idea being explored by a delegation of politicians who have just returned from a fact-finding trip to the country’s greenest area.
A team of councillors have visited Oxfordshire to see how two district councils are teaming up to offer 106,000 homes a third bin for unwanted food scraps.
South Oxfordshire District Council and the Vale of White Horse Council say the bins are used by 92 per cent of households and have boosted recycling rates to 68 per cent.
The food waste, which can include meat bones, eggshells and anything else left on the plate, is turned into compost or sold on to power plants to generate electricity.
Investigations are now taking place to see if the Oxfordshire experiment can be replicated in Worcester – by teaming up with another council for better economies of scale.
It comes at a time when council bosses in Wych-avon are consulting with residents over possibly scrapping the service in January 2014 due to the £600,000 yearly costs.
At the two Oxfordshire councils, a combined fund of £120,000 to help publicise the collections is largely credited with making it a success.
Councillor Neil Laurenson, from Worcester Green Party, who took part in the visit, said: “It was an interesting trip and what became clear to me is how important being in partnership was.
“Neither council went it alone, they had a contract and did it as a team and as a result, they’ve got the countries’ best recycling rates.
“If we followed that model it would not be food waste collections in Worcester – it’d be Worcester plus one other council.”
At the moment recycling rates in Worcester are about 36 per cent, as well as 43 per cent in Wychavon and 31 per cent in Malvern.
There are hopes that by giving residents a new bin for food waste, it could reduce costly landfill taxes, which hit a record £9.8million across Worcestershire and Here-fordshire last year.
A meeting is now due to take place on Wednesday, September 4, involving officers from County Hall, the city council and Wychavon District Council to explore the idea further.
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