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Waste ‘munchers’ could chew through Cumbria food scraps

HUNDREDS of Barrow homes could be given food waste ‘munchers’ in a bid to cut down on the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

Thousands of households across the county are set to get waste digester units which will ‘munch’ through the 1,300 tonnes of unwanted food thrown away each year in Cumbria.

The vermin and smell-proof stand-alone units, which will be distributed in Barrow, Eden and Allerdale, can safely treat food waste including meat, fish, bones and vegetables. The scheme has been recommended for approval by Stewart Young, deputy leader of Cumbria County Council.

In a report for tomorrow’s cabinet meeting, Councillor Young said the authority should move forward with the purchase of the units for 6,500 homes, which will still have weekly bin collections.

The project will be paid for using £606,000 from the government’s so-called Pickles Fund set up by communities minister Eric Pickles to support weekly bin collections.

Of this, £443,000 will be used to buy the units. Householders will pay a contribution of between £15 and £20 each.

Cllr Young said the council would save £43,000 a year in waste treatment costs should the scheme be adopted across Cumbria.

At the moment organic waste food goes into landfill but the county council is keen to reduce this.

Jim Savege, the authority’s corporate director for environment, stated that the county council was the only one in the UK to get funds from the government scheme.

He said: “These units operate in a similar fashion to traditional home composting units but can safely treat all types of food waste.

“The units are a very suitable device for Cumbria especially because of the rural nature of the county which makes collection of waste expensive because of the distance between households and centralised treatment facilities.”

The units will be of a similar format to traditional compost heaps, and residents will apply to the scheme if they are interested in having a unit in their home.

Mr Savege concluded: “Due to the timescales of the funding it is imperative that the procurement process proceeds without delay.”

The government is keen to promote the scheme as a means of halving food waste to reduce the amount going through landfill, where organic matter contributes to methane production.

It is also hoped that the scheme will change people’s attitudes towards waste.

Have your say

So it will be paid for with £606,000 fund money (£443,000 to buy actual units), residents will fork out between £97,500 and £130,000 making a total of possibly £736,000. All to save the council £43,000 a year? How long do the units last for? This seems like financial madness.

Posted by Scott on 10 April 2013 at 18:13

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