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Southern Oxfordshire residents urged to recycle food waste

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Residents in Southern Oxfordshire, UK, put around 700 tonnes of food into their black bins last December, emitting nearly 150 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

As Christmas approaches, when food waste levels are high, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils are urging residents to “do their bit” by reducing food waste and, if they have any, making sure it is placed in the correct bin.

Residents in Vale of White Horse put around 458 tonnes of food waste into their black bins in December 2020. This emitted around 97 tonnes of CO2e into the atmosphere as it was taken with the rubbish for incineration, instead of to the local anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. If residents had put their food waste into the food bin, it would have generated enough electricity to power 714 fridge freezers for a year.

South Oxfordshire put approximately 246 tonnes of food waste into their black bins in December 2020. If that had gone to the AD plant, it would have saved around 52 tonnes of CO2e, and generated enough energy to power 384 fridge freezers for an entire year.

“I think everybody will agree these figures are shocking,” said Councillor Catherine Webber, of Vale of White Horse District Council. “If people could see the money they are throwing away every time they put food in the bin, they might think twice before doing so.

“We need to reduce how much food goes to waste by changing our habits around food, including how we buy food and paying more attention to food once it is in our homes. Since the message from COP26 stresses the dire urgency of reducing our carbon footprint now, we must all play our part in handling our food more responsibly.”

Councillor Sue Cooper, of South Oxfordshire District Council, and Cabinet Member for Environment, Climate Change, and Nature Recovery, commented: “When people throw food out, it’s not just food that is going to waste, it’s all the resources which went into making it.

“It’s like leaving the lights on when you are not in a room or leaving the car engine running when you are not driving. It’s wasting resources and energy and money. By not using food bins, residents are making a bad situation worse by actively putting emissions into the atmosphere.”