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SWITCHING FROM DUSTBINS TO DIGESTERS

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More than 15,000 people in West Sussex are helping the county council reduce waste after signing up for a free food...
More than 15,000 people in West Sussex are helping the county council reduce waste after signing up for a free food digester.

The digesters - they are partially buried in the garden and safely break down all types of food from meat and bones to left over fruit and veg - were given away thanks to support from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

If used properly, they are set to have a major impact on the amount of food waste that ends up in dustbins and is then disposed of in landfill sites.

Julie Wilkinson, West Sussex CC waste strategy manager, said:

'We will be monitoring the impact of the scheme very carefully, and we are also working on obtaining more funding so that we can continue this major initiative at a later date.

'Meanwhile, we would like to thank people who applied for a digester because they will be playing a vital role in helping the environment as well as reducing the cost of having to bury waste in landfill. The response has been tremendous.'

The 15,000 people who applied also received a kitchen caddy to collect left-over food before taking it outside to the digester, and a packet of accelerator powder to help the process along. The normal retail price would have been£66.90.

Meanwhile, the county council is continuing to promote two other initiatives also designed to halt waste in its tracks.

A free starter pack of cotton nappies worth£100 or four weeks use of a laundry service are available as part of the drive to persuade parents to switch from disposable nappies, 82,000 of which end up in landfill in West Sussex every day.

There has also been a massive response to a new offer the county council and all seven district and borough councils have signed with WRAP - the Waste & Resources Action Programme - which is offering people a choice of three garden composters at heavily discounted prices.

With their bins, residents will receive a 'how to' booklet on home composting, and a useful sticker for their bin reminding them what can and can't go in. 'Compost at Home' is part of the national recycling awareness campaign 'Recycle Now' launched by WRAP last year. Residents can visit www.recyclenow.org.uk for news and information as well as advice about recycling.

In West Sussex, for example, one composter capable of holding 330 litres of garden waste costs just£5 instead of the normal£49.95, and delivery is free.

Details of waste prevention schemes can be found on the county council's website at www.westsussex.gov.uk or by ringing 01243 777572.

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