Arun District Council officers had recommended the new collections come in from February 2023, following the successful 1-2-3 collection trial which sees similar arrangements for 1,350 households.
But Arun District Council’s Environment Committee voted against plans to introduce fortnightly residual and weekly food waste collections for all but 6,000 homes on Thursday (19 May).
Committee chair David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) said the council is ‘staying true to its climate pledge’ but added that adopting food waste collections could exclude Arun from future ‘new burdens’ funding.
It comes as ADC attempts to boost recycling rates from 42 to 55 per cent by 2025 to meet government targets, which include separate food waste collections.
Officers believe fortnightly collections would encourage residents to waste less and food waste is also counted towards recycling targets.
Instead, the Environment Committee voted to keep the service ‘as is’, including an extension of ADC’s contract with Biffa.
They agreed fortnightly collections would only be introduced when the government makes food waste collection compulsory.
At this point, residents would receive food caddies and 240 litre bins.
Food waste currently makes up 42 per cent of residents’ residual waste and Steve Read, West Sussex County Council’s director of environment and public protection, said there are ‘very large amounts of waste at stake’.
“The difference between continuing with your current system and moving to alternate weekly collections over the next three years would mean an additional 900 African elephants worth of dry recycling would move into the recycling stream and out of the waste disposal stream, or 3,000 Ford Fiestas worth of material,” he said.
“Adding food waste to the equation going forward, we would be talking about 1,600 African elephants a year of food waste being taken out of the system, or 5,300 Ford Fiestas.”
Councillors were warned by consultants Ricardo to make a decision ‘as soon as possible’ to avoid a ‘supply bottleneck’ whereby the availability and cost of bins and collection vehicles becomes unfavourable.
The delay was criticised by Lib Dems and Greens.
Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) said she was ‘disappointed’, adding: “Food waste collections must be brought in as soon as possible.”
David Huntley (Ind, Pagham) said:“It’s a bit like not affording to cut down on global warming – there are some things we’ve just got to do.”
But deputy council leader Jacky Pendleton (Con, Middleton-on-Sea) said: “We would all agree that we want food waste collections.
“However, the point that seems to be being missed quite substantially is that we don’t have the money to do that at this point in time.
“There is a big risk that when it comes to the government funding, we will not be eligible for it because we are already doing it.”
Council leader Shaun Gunner said: “The policies of the Conservatives include maintaining weekly bin collections.
“I think this is absolutely the right decision for this council to make.”