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Some important changes to food and garden waste collections in West Lothian.

Changes to food and garden waste collection

30 August
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Food waste in West Lothian will be collected in brown bins from 30 September 2019, along with garden waste.

Food waste caddy collections will stop from Saturday 28 September and from 30 September onwards all households should dispose of their food waste in their brown bin.

It is important that householders do not present their brown bin for collection with food in them until after 30 September, as this would contaminate the brown bin waste which is currently treated differently to co-mingled food and brown waste.

The council has a new contract which allows garden and food waste to be disposed of together which should help increase the amount of food waste recycled in West Lothian.

Collecting food and garden waste together is already takes place in a number of other Scottish council areas including Aberdeen City, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Glasgow City, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Perth and Kinross.

Throughout September, all West Lothian householders are being issued with a new calendar outlining their new brown bin collection day from 30 September and specific information about the change to co-mingled food and garden waste.

Householders should continue to use their food waste caddies and present them for collection throughout September.  From 30 September householders should follow the instructions on their new collection calendars.

There are a number of benefits to 'co-mingling' food and garden waste, including;

  • It's easier and more straightforward for customers to recycle , which should help to increase the amount of food waste being recycled
  • Brown bins will be emptied fortnightly from Monday 30 September and will be collected fortnightly all year round.
  • There will be fewer bins for residents to manage/store

It is also important that householders do not put plastic bags into their brown bins. Food should be wrapped in newspaper or biodegradable bags, or simply placed in the brown bin loose. This is because the national limits for the amounts of plastics allowed in compost have reduced and are reducing further. Each council has to meet the limits for plastics that are stated in SEPA's regulations and guidance.

Waste Services Manager David Goodenough said: "Anything that can currently be placed in the brown bin or food caddy will now go into the brown bin.  The only difference will be that plastic bags cannot be accepted due to the processing of the waste at the recycling plant. 

"Not using plastic bags for food will also help to reduce the use of plastic bags, which is a good thing for the environment.

"This way of collecting food and garden waste is already used by other councils in Scotland and is recognised by Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA as an acceptable practice."

Executive councillor for the environment, Tom Conn said: "Currently 50 % of food in West Lothian is still put into the grey bin instead of the food caddy. The change should make it easier and more straightforward for householders to dispose of food and garden waste into one bin.

He added: "There are a number of benefits to this change including an increase in the frequency of the brown bin collections.

"Like any change, it will take some time to get used to but the message is simple; place food and garden waste into your brown bin from 30 September onwards. We hope that the change will increase recycling rates and make recycling easier for householders."

Householders are welcome to keep hold of their food waste caddy if they can find a use for it e.g. using this to store food waste before emptying into the brown bin or home composting.  Any unwanted food waste caddies should be left out after your last food waste collection and the council will collect and recycle the unwanted caddies. Alternatively householders can take them to their local recycling centre.

Further information is available on Brown Bins

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