Lewisham currently doesn’t collect food waste for a number of reasons; currently Lewisham’s refuse (including food waste) is sent to SELCHP where it is incinerated and energy is recovered from it producing electricity which is then piped back into the national grid.
The ideal output for food waste if it were collected would be to take it to an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant – the ultimate output being generate electricity (the same thing which is happening at present with the waste being sent to SELCHP).
Although there are additional benefits to AD including the production of compost and nutrient rich fertiliser, at present these benefits are outweighed by the prohibitive costs of purchasing food waste bins and caddies for all lewisham residents as well as additional vehicles and crews to collect the food waste.
This is coupled with the fact that there are currently no AD plants within a reasonable proximity to Lewisham, meaning that the environmental impact of transporting the food waste would also need to be thought about.
However, never say never … food waste is a valuable resource which can be utilised and should the situation arise when collecting food waste made both econmic and environmental sense I’m sure Lewisham would give it serious consideration!!
Lewisham Council’s Head of Environment (Nigel Tyrell) wrote an interesting piece on the boroughs waste strategy which addresses the issue of food waste along with other plans.