Long-term future of Norwich food waste collections in doubt - unless more people start recycling their leftovers

File photo dated 20/05/12 of out of date and unopened food from a domestic household thrown away in

File photo dated 20/05/12 of out of date and unopened food from a domestic household thrown away in a dustbin as Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket, is launching a campaign to tackle breathtaking amounts of food waste which it says costs households £700 a year. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday May 20, 2013. See PA story CITY Tesco. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The long-term future of Norwich food waste collections could be under threat - unless more people start taking part in the scheme, council officers have revealed.

Norwich City Council launched a food waste collection service in 2010, to try to cut the amount of leftovers which end up in landfill, with caddies issued to homes for people to put food into.

Since 2005, the council has gone from being the largest producer of household waste in the county, to being the best performer.

But, with less than a third of the city's households taking part in the weekly food waste scheme, council officers have cast a question mark over the future of the collections, saying the service is 'underperforming'.

But, in a report which went before members of the controlling Labour cabinet, officers raised concerns over the food waste collection scheme.

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They said: 'Both the participation rates and the tonnage collected are very low, such that the long-term viability of the service could be called into question.

'Significant interventions are required in order to improve this service, so as to reduce the amount of food waste that is land-filled and provide tangible benefits to residents and the council.'

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In 2012, the city council established a team to knock on doors, which showed in some parts of the city two thirds of people put their food waste out for collection, but in other areas it was fewer than 3pc of homes.

Many people said they did not put their food waste out because the council does not provide free caddy liners. The council failed in a bid Department of Communities and Local Government to get money to pay for free liners, but is still exploring that possibility.

Council officers will also continue to knock on doors to encourage people to take part in the scheme.

A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: 'We are proud to have achieved the best household recycling rates in the county and are now working to encourage more residents to get involved in our food waste collection scheme.

'Once they make use of the service, most residents actually see a reduction in the food waste they generate since they start to shop more mindfully and therefore have less to throw away, which saves money, too.

'We would like to thank everyone who already makes use of the scheme and remind residents that all food waste collected is diverted from landfill and goes on to a local processing plant for use as compost on farmland in the area.'

The council has set itself new targets to reduce the level of residual waste being produced by city households.

Each household currently produces an average of 426kg of residual waste each year, but the council wants to drive that down to 384kg by 2016 and 340kg by 2020.

The council hopes to increase its recycling rates when the new materials recycling facility in Costessey comes into operation in October, which will mean people can put more into their blue recycling bins,

If you no longer have a food caddy or have any queries about the scheme, visit www.norwich.gov.uk or call 0344 980 3333.

• What do you think of food waste collections? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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