Stickers are to be placed on black domestic bins by Cheshire West & Chester Council to encourage more recycling of food waste.
The aim is to encourage more residents to fully use their kerbside recycling service – especially their brown food recycling bin. The sticker also supports other useful information to reduce the risk of unintentional fires.
Last year (2022/23) the Council recycled 9,500 tonnes of food waste through our weekly kerbside service using brown bin caddies. Through a recent study, we have identified that around 13,000 tonnes of food waste was thrown away in black domestic bins, and that almost 30% of all waste put in our black kerbside bins is food waste. If this food waste was recycled through our brown bin caddies, this food could have been composted through a special "anaerobic digestion" facility which breaks down food waste to provide green electricity and a valuable soil fertiliser for English farmland. Furthermore, the treatment process is free so we can avoid high waste treatment costs by encouraging people to put food waste into the correct container.
Through our Climate Change response, we have identified a need to recycle 64% of our waste to help keep us on track to reach our carbon neutral goals. Our recycling rate for 2022/23 is just over 56% and is on track to increase by 2-3% due to the success of the new kerbside recycling service issued to most homes last year.
This is why increasing the rate of recycling food waste is a priority for us. Around half of homes in Cheshire West and Chester are using their kerbside food waste recycling service and research shows that people feel good that they are helping to protect the environment. We also know that when people recycle their food waste, they notice how much is wasted and take steps to reduce the amount of food they waste (by shopping more carefully, planning meals, storing food better and using leftovers).
What is happening
Cheshire West Recycling (CWR) staff will be placing stickers on black domestic bins informing residents of what should not be placed in their black bins, including food waste. The sticker will be placed on the handle side of the bin.
The stickers ask people to write their house number/name on their bin. This will help us identify homes that are recycling/not recycling so we can ensure we target them with the correct campaign materials in future. It will also help residents to identify their bin, to reduce the risk of it being stolen. The sticker also provides helpful information about what should not go in the bin and reminds people to store their bin on their own premises once it has been emptied. This can reduce the risk of waste related fires or the bins causing an obstruction on pavements. Stickers remind residents to use the weekly food waste kerbside recycling service. We will then monitor how many people take up food waste recycling as a direct result of the stickering.
We will initially measure the impact of simply stickering the bins (no other campaigning) throughout the month of November to include:
Additional stocks of food waste bins and caddies have been ordered in readiness for an increased uptake.
Similar stickering campaigns have been carried out in other local authorities resulting in a significant increase in food waste recycling. It is recognised as one of the simplest ways to encourage more people to recycle food (Nudge theory). To optimise the impact, we will develop a wider behaviour change plan to be delivered in the next 18 months. This will include working within communities using social norming approaches, as well as targeted doorstep engagement with people known not to be recycling food waste. More detail of this will follow in due course. A copy of the sticker is sent as an attachment to this briefing note.
When it is happening
We are currently stickering bins in the east of the borough, starting in Winsford. This will help us gauge the impact when we scale up the stickering across the entire local area, and plan for the resources needed to deliver caddies and collect extra food waste.
We plan to expand the stickering to other parts of the borough once the garden waste collections stop in December – achieving full coverage by March 2024.
For more information on recycling food waste visit What goes in my bin/box? | Cheshire West and Chester Council