A brand new food waste recycling service has just start in Edinburgh this week.

Around 20,000 properties across the city will benefit from the trial scheme which will see food waste picked up once a week. Here in The Reporter household we do try very hard not to waste food, but now that we are part of the scheme, we did have a couple of little compostable bags of vegetable peelings to be collected on Monday.

And that is the very good thing. The bags which you use to line the ‘food caddy’ are tiny, thus persuading you that you should not be too wasteful. The photo shows the larger food waste bin that you have to put out at the kerbside each Monday. All of this has made us reflect on the way that household bins have become much larger over the years. All that packaging has to go somewhere!

In the capital, households throw out on average between £450 and £550 food waste per year.

The Council currently recycles 32 per cent of all waste collected, however if the recycling rate does not increase the cost of landfill and landfill tax will rise from £10.37m to £16.24m by 2014. If more residents reduce, reuse and recycle this figure could reduce to £11.85m.

One of the good things that the New Town residents who use the private Queen Street Gardens do, is encourage people to put household waste in the compost bin specifically provided for the purpose, and we are sure that other private gardens in the city must do the same. Also, allotment holders in the city are urged to set up their own composting arrangements too.

The food waste pilot will cover different areas and a variety of housing types to test the service across the city.

Once the trial is evaluated, the service might then be rolled out across the city. With a target of increasing recycling in Edinburgh, the food waste pilot is part of the Council’s new Waste and Recycling Strategy.

And the brand new food waste scheme is a further improvement to the recycling service following the introduction of plastic bottle and battery recycling.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader, said: “This is a pioneering service for local residents in Edinburgh. I’m glad to see the pilot begin. Food waste will be collected weekly and there will be more opportunity to recycle other household items.

“There is real potential for behavioural change. It’s important for residents to know, that if recycling is increased there will be a much better service, as well as helping the environment, reducing waste and saving money. Lowering the amount of rubbish we send to landfill is everyone’s responsibility. We want Edinburgh to be a great place to live in and visit and these pilots are part of that.”

Duncan Thorp, a local resident from East London Street, who is taking part in the food waste recycling scheme, said: “I am really pleased to see the introduction of food waste recycling in Edinburgh. It’s a great addition to the recycling services we already have. I look forward to local people playing a full part in not only recycling, but reducing their food waste and making a greener city for everyone.”

Food waste collected will then be composted or used to generate gas, which helps the environment by reducing the need for fossil fuel.

The Scottish Government published its Zero Waste Plan for Scotland in June 2010. Key targets included in this include:-

Separate food waste collections to be introduced by 2013

A ban on recyclable waste from landfill by 2015

A ban on biodegradable waste from landfill from 2017.

Keep Scotland Beautiful recently published a survey on public attitudes towards waste.

Are you part of the pilot scheme? What do you think? Are you happy to be doing your bit for the environment?