Food waste collections are binned to balance books

Coun Robert Boswell
Coun Robert Boswell
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Domestic food waste collections are to be binned in Preston as councillors scrape around for budget savings.

The city’s cabinet has voted to scrap the weekly green bin run which has been in operation since 2005.

Only 15,000 homes – around a quarter of the borough’s population – have the service which cabinet members admit is “very popular.” But from February they will be advised to put food scraps in either grey or brown bins to be recycled into compost.

“It’s not ideal, but it is something we are going to have to go with to help with the budget situation,” said Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for community and environment. “A lot of people use it and it’s very popular. But we need to make the budget balance.”

Preston, which two years ago had the worst record for recycling in Lancashire, now processes 38 per cent of its waste. Removing the food waste service – which collects around 520 tonnes a year – will mean a one per cent drop, although there will be no increase in the amounts sent to landfill.

Coun Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for resources, explained: “No doubt some people will miss the service, but the landscape has changed since it was brought in. We know there is going to be a reaction, but we hope people will understand the budget situation and the changes in waste collection.”

Scrapping the service will save the council £86,192 a year, almost £70,000 on staff wages. It would also mean the authority would not have to replace its ageing food bin vehicle which is due for replacement in 2016/17.

Preston City Council expects its recycling rate to increase to 40 per cent in the near future. Local authorities are expected to reach 50 per cent by 2020.