Mid Sussex approves food waste collection trial

PR2397/JR/MF - 29/11/2021

Mid Sussex District Council will conduct a trial of kerbside food waste collections in three areas of the district next year.

On 29 November, the Council’s Cabinet agreed to proceed, in partnership with West Sussex County Council, with a trial collection service that includes weekly food waste and absorbent hygiene product collections.

The trial service will comprise a ‘1-2-3’ collection system as follows:

  1. Introducing weekly food waste collections and an opt-in subscription service of absorbent hygiene product collections e.g. nappies and incontinence waste;

  2. Retaining existing fortnightly recycling collections and the garden waste subscription service;

  3. Three weekly general rubbish collections.

The trial will help the Council gather important data and customer feedback, which can be used to fine tune a new collection system. Establishing the most appropriate frequency of collections, the size of bins and how to effectively meet the needs of residents will all be important when it comes to planning future changes to waste and recycling services.

The trial will be run in partnership with West Sussex County Council.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said:

“We know that there is considerable appetite amongst Mid Sussex residents for the introduction of weekly food waste collections and it’s a service that we’re really keen to provide.

“Our residents already do a fantastic job of recycling their waste but if we can collect food waste as well, it will dramatically increase recycling rates and reduce general waste.

“West Sussex County Council is committed to providing the means to recycle food waste in the future. Our kerbside food waste collection trial will ensure we’re ready to roll out a new collection system to the rest of Mid Sussex as soon as the treatment facilities are in place.”

West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Deborah Urquhart said:

“We are delighted to be supporting another 1-2-3 trial collection trial in West Sussex. I would like to thank all Mid Sussex residents taking part, as their feedback will greatly assist our teams in re-shaping and enhancing rubbish and recycling collections for the district and across the county in the future.

“This ultimately will help Mid Sussex increase recycling rates and West Sussex to meet, and hopefully exceed, the Government’s target to increase recycling rates to 65 per cent by 2035.”

Councillor John Belsey, MSDC Cabinet Member for Environment and Service Delivery added:

“Just over 40% by weight of the average household waste bin in Mid Sussex is food waste and throwing all that food away has a hugely negative impact on the environment. Kerbside food waste collections make it simple and convenient for residents to recycle that waste into something useful.

“West Sussex County Council is supportive of our trial and is providing temporary arrangements for the disposal of food waste until a permanent facility is established. The food waste will be taken to a specialist facility and placed in an anaerobic digester, which uses the gas that is produced when the food breaks down to generate energy and turns the left-over material into a soil fertiliser.

“With the help of our residents, we hope that introducing kerbside food waste collections together with other future recycling initiatives and schemes will help us substantially increase recycling levels in Mid Sussex and certainly reach over 65% by 2035".

Mid Sussex District Council initially planned to trial kerbside food waste collections in spring 2020. However, the rapid emergence of the Coronavirus Pandemic in March meant those plans were postponed, with all resources directed towards the protection of existing waste collection services and the introduction of social distancing measures for collection crews.