Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan has announced that a £132,000 grant from the department’s Rethink Waste Fund is to extend Derry City Council’s food waste recycling collection service.
The Fund supports the Food Waste Regulations (N Ireland) 2015 to divert food waste away from landfill and into recycling.
Over 150,000 tonnes of food waste is sent off to landfill every year in N Ireland. Some 118,000 tonnes is household food waste and accounts for a third of all household waste sent to landfill.
Commenting on the importance of cutting down on food waste and diverting it from landfill, the Minister said: “We all know it makes sense to cut down on food waste and how we dispose of it. It is important that we all play our part. By sending food waste to landfill we are wasting money, resources and an opportunity to support the green economy and reduce carbon emissions.
“Making the effort to separate out our food waste and disposing of it separately will encourage us all to produce less waste in the first place. This is good news for the environment, the economy and importantly our pockets.
“I have introduced legislation that will require all our councils to collect and transport our food waste separately by 1 April 2017. With this grant and the work already completed, Derry City Council is on course to meet the requirements and importantly moving towards our shared aspiration of a zero waste society. ”
The new legislation will stop separately collected food waste being accepted at landfill sites from April 1 2015. It also stops businesses, like hotels and staff canteens, disposing food waste down the drain and into the sewer network by 1 April 2017. Food businesses will have to keep their food waste separate from other waste and make sure that their waste contractors collect and transport the food waste separately. The result of all this is that the food waste that is separated out from other waste will go off for recycling at in-vessel composting or anaerobic digestion plants, generating good quality compost, energy and green jobs.
Welcoming the announcement of the grant Mayor of Derry, Councillor Brenda Stevenson, said: “I am delighted that Derry City Council has been awarded such a significant amount towards our food waste collection service.
“The extension of the scheme will have a significant impact in terms of providing a consistent waste collection service across the council district and increasing the diversion of food waste from landfill. This funding will allow council to progress further towards meeting its waste reduction targets, and reaffirms our commitment to improving the quality of our local environment.”
The scheme will now be extended to the remaining households in the council area, and will also include the collection of food waste from 33 schools, 20 charities, 35 businesses and 33 Derry City Council locations.