Between 2007 and 2009 WRAP provided funding and technical support to 21 local authorities to carry out trials of separate food waste collections. This report evaluates the performance of the trials and draws out key practical lessons for local authorities for the collection of food waste from householders.

The WRAP supported trials all had the following key characteristics:

  • food waste was collected weekly;
  • food waste was collected in a separate container to both residual waste and to garden waste (where a kerbside garden waste service was provided);
  • small dedicated collection vehicles were used;
  • kerbside containers and/or kitchen caddies were provided to householders in the trial areas; and
  • liners were provided for kitchen caddies and/or collection containers (with the exception of one small area in Surrey).

The 21 trials considered in this report were carried out in local authority areas with a broad range of sociodemographics, particularly in terms of levels of deprivation and average size of households. The trial areas had a mix of waste and recycling collection systems, in particular with a good representation of authorities with weekly and fortnightly refuse collections. Three of the trial areas collected food waste from multi-occupancy properties, including one trial using a ‘bring’ system to collect food waste.

Collected food waste was sent for processing at in-vessel composting and anaerobic digestion facilities and in most cases these facilities were located in reasonable proximity to the trial areas.

A wide range of data was collected in order to monitor and evaluate the performance of the trials, including:

  • tonnages of food waste collected;
  • vehicle pick and pass rates1;
  • householder participation;
  • householder attitudes and satisfaction (via surveys) and in-depth views (via focus groups);
  • waste composition and assessment of capture rates;
  • feedback from processors; and
  • feedback from local authority officers and collection crews.

Key findings

Collectively the trials provided a service to 135,540 households and during the trials (up to the end of 2008) a total of 10,200 tonnes of food waste was diverted from landfill avoiding the emission of the equivalent of 4,600 tonnes of CO2 (assuming that all the food waste went to in-vessel composting).

Average food waste yields per household served per week ranged from 0.32 kg (bring scheme) to 2.1 kg (kerbside); this is equivalent to each household avoiding the equivalent of between 0.11 kg and 0.94 kg of CO2 each week.

As of May 2009, three of the local authorities that participated in the trials have rolled out food waste collections district wide – Mid Bedfordshire (now part of Central Bedfordshire), Oldham and Kingston upon Thames. The food waste yields achieved by the district-wide collections are similar to those achieved by the trials. This indicates that the results from the trials can be replicated on a district-wide basis and can be used for planning purposes

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  • Evaluation of the WRAP food waste collection trials - updated

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