a food caddy bin with waste food

A CAMPAIGN to reduce and collect food waste from schools could help Torfaen Council offer a similar service to businesses. 

A competition is being run with schools in Torfaen by the county borough council which it says will help it understand how it could collect leftover food from businesses on a commercial basis. 

Composed food waste counts towards local authority recycling targets and Torfaen is currently only has a 62 per cent rate, which is two per cent below the current target, and it must hit 70% by 2025 to avoid being fined £100,000, by the Welsh Government for every percentage point below target it is. 

This week it pulled the plug on plans to reduce household rubbish collections to either once every three weeks, or once a month, and will instead aim to better educate residents on recycling. 

But councillor David Thomas, who represents Llantarnam Ward in Cwmbran, said he has been contacted by “numerous businesses” who would like to use the council’s recycling service. 

The independent member asked if the council has “any plans to assist and provide a better service to help local businesses in Torfaen to recycle more efficiently”. 

Cllr Mandy Owen, the Labour cabinet member for the environment, called the question “interesting” and said: “We would definitely like to improve the trade waste service and are already serving around 512 businesses across the borough.” 

She said the competition being trialled with schools will help it understand the tonnage of food waste produced and the sort of vehicles required to collect it if it was to offer a commercial service. 

But she said the council had to be cautious on committing to a new service which she said could cost it an additional £100,000 a year in staff costs and vehicles. 

She said: “I know people will say they will come to us but we have to remember that business can go to any provider and we cannot use our core budget to support a trade waste service.” 

The Greenmeadow Ward councillor said she would look at cost and report back to councillors but also said the council would have to cover the cost of treating food waste which, unlike recycling, wouldn’t bring in a revenue.