Wandsworth food recycling. A collection of food waste ready to be recycled.

Food recycling bins coming to Wandsworth for the first time

This week houses in Wandsworth can get food waste recycling bins for the first time following a disappointing report.

This comes after recent figures from the London Datastore revealed Wandsworth as the second-worst borough in London for recycling, marginally ahead of Tower Hamlets.

Speaking to residents of Wandsworth there seems to be a lot of frustration over how current waste is handled.

Liz Jukes, 60, from Southfields said: “The reason I think Wandsworth is one of the worst boroughs in London for recycling is because the refuse collection workers are dumping them into one lorry.”

She spoke candidly about seeing others on local Facebook community groups who have had similar experiences and are reluctant to bother.

There are a lot of rules as to what you can and cannot recycle and often if there is one wrong thing in your bin the entire contents cannot be recycled.

If these bins are being emptied into disposal units instead of recycling, defeating the point, you can understand why residents may be reluctant to add another bin and set of rules to their routine.

Meelesh Patel, 59, a local business owner in Wandsworth said: “I am shocked that Wandsworth is one of the worst boroughs for recycling because we try as much as possible.

“Saying that, I’ve not heard anything about food bins coming to Wandsworth, we’d definitely use them here.”

Lyndsey Aherne from Southfields claimed she’d heard about them so long ago she’d assumed they’d been abandoned.

Aherne, 74, said: “All of my friends in other boroughs have them. 

“I’ve got three kids and when they come to visit me they’re shocked I’m not recycling food.”

More than 80,000 houses across Wandsworth will receive food recycling bins and the council expects to roll them out to flats towards the end of the year.

Aherne explained that her grandchild, who is four, is currently learning how to recycle: “I’ve got a lovely little video of her putting things in separate bins. 

“Her father always says to me it’s the next generation who will have to deal with this and he’s not even some kind of eco-warrior, it’s just common sense.”

The Household Waste Recycling Act of 2003, required local authorities across England to collect at least two streams of recyclable household waste by 2010.

Recycling rates have gone from 14.5% to 44.1% according to the UK Statistics on Waste from GOV.UK – however, these figures have plateaued in recent years.

Mary Lou Watson, 77, Lavender Hill said: “I looked at the leaflet with all the instructions, and there’s actually quite a lot to take in, you have to be quite careful, you have to put a little plastic bag in, but not any old plastic bag – it’s a special plastic bag that they give you.”

She explained that you need to look at the list and pictures in great detail to make sure you’re recycling the correct things and that it’s not all food waste.

Watson said: “I personally think it’s a wonderful change. However, I have spoken to a lot of people who have said they won’t be doing it. 

“I was quite shocked how many people said absolutely no way because they couldn’t be bothered with all the rules.”

As part of this initiative, Wandsworth Council is introducing new vehicles run on hydrotreated vegetable oil, and biofuels made from processed vegetable oils or animal fats.

From Monday 10th June, these new vehicles will be collecting food waste recycling bins and reducing carbon emissions by 90%.

Currently, households with room for kerbside collection at the front of their property or in their garden are eligible for an outdoor brown caddy along with an indoor silver caddy.

You will also receive a starter pack of compostable caddy liners for your silver caddy and a booklet explaining your new food waste collection service.

If you’re thinking of requesting one here is a list of things you can and cannot recycle.

Things you can recycle:

  • Plate scrapings
  • Bread and pastries
  • Fruit and vegetable peelings (including fruit stones)
  • Meat, fish and bones (cooked or uncooked)
  • Eggshells
  • Dairy products (e.g. cheese)
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds

You can recycle any mouldy or out-of-date food including ready meals – remove the packaging.

Things you can’t recycle:

  • Liquid food waste, milk, or oils
  • Biodegradable plastic coffee pods
  • Compostable packaging (except compostable caddy liners)
  • Any other plastics/bioplastics (e.g. Vegware)
  • Paper or kitchen roll (except to line the caddy)
  • Foil or cling film
  • Garden waste

For more information or to request a caddy visit the Wandsworth Council Website.

Feature image: Starr via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

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