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Thrown away: 2,000 tonnes of food – 3 Nov 2010

Unwanted food accounts for almost one third of everything thrown in the bin in homes across Merseyside and Halton, a new survey reveals.

The Kerbside Household Waste Analysis Survey – commissioned by Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority and launched at the LARAC conference in Liverpool this week – says organic kitchen waste is the single biggest element in our bins, making up an average of 28.4% of everything we put in the bin.

It means that, out of the 10.95 kilos of waste we put in our bins every week, more than 3 kilos is a combination of leftover meat, fruit and veg, other food or peelings, teabags and eggshells – food which could either have been eaten or, with the exception of meat, could be composted.

Across the Merseyside and Halton area the amount of food waste binned equates to a mountain of almost 2,000 tonnes a week (based on 640,000 homes producing an average of 3.1 kilos of food waste).

Carl Beer, director of Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority, said: “It’s a shame that at a time when so many people are counting the pennies, we are wasting so much food.

“The message couldn’t be clearer. We’ve got to stop wasting good food for the sake of both our pockets and the environment – and, where it really can’t be eaten, we’ve got to learn to try and compost it.”

MWDA Chairperson Councillor Kevin Cluskey said: “If you really want to make a difference to the environment and your own pocket, think about the food you’re buying and make sure you plan meals properly so food doesn’t go out of date before you’ve eaten it.”

The survey, conducted on behalf of the Merseyside and Halton Waste Partnership, shows:

Compostable kitchen waste accounts for 28.4% of what we throw in the bin, 13.1% is paper and another 10.4% is known as miscellaneous combustibles – everything from treated wood to used nappies and old carpet

Sefton residents throw less in the bin than people in other Mersey districts – just 8.09 kilos a week compared to 12.95 kilos in St Helens, the district with the heaviest bin bags

Between them, homes in Merseyside and Halton throw away almost 2,000 tonnes of compostable kitchen waste every week