Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 17:30 UK

Minister targets food recycling

A landfill site (library)
Landfill tax is designed to encourage councils to recycle more waste

The Welsh assembly government has urged councils to introduce more food recycling as ministers unveiled a 50m package of grants.

More than half of councils have already started or aim to begin offering food waste recycling in the next year.

Sustainability minister Jane Davidson said the money would help councils "continue their progress" on recycling.

Meanwhile, councils in Wales warned that a steep rise in tax on waste going to landfill sites will cost them 10m.

Anglesey 1.3m
Blaenau Gwent 1m
Bridgend 2.1m
Caerphilly 2.6m
Cardiff 5m
Carmarthenshire 3m
Ceredigion 1.6m
Conwy 2m
Denbighshire 1.74m
Flintshire 2.38m
Gwynedd 2.84m
Merthyr Tydfil 845,836
Monmouthshire 1.44m
Neath Port Talbot 2.1m
Newport 2.14m
Pembrokeshire 2.2m
Powys 2.9m
Rhondda Cynon Taff 3.56m
Swansea 3m
Torfaen 1.37m
Vale of Glamorgan 1.94m
Wrexham 2m
Source: Welsh Assembly Government

"Increasing the amount they recycle will help local authorities meet their targets and reduce costs from increases in landfill tax," said Ms Davidson.

"Food waste is an area of great potential and exploiting this will be essential if we are to continue increasing the amount of waste we recycle and divert from landfill.

"It is of particular importance in the fight against climate change because when deposited in landfill food waste generates methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide."

She said that food waste could also be used to create energy and recycling could also provide nutrients for soil.

Councils will be urged to use the money - 15m more than last year - to develop food recycling strategies.

A number of local authorities have already started food waste collections and others are developing facilities.

Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Merthyr, Carmarthenshire, RCT, Bridgend and Swansea have already started to introduce food waste collections.

Plastic bottles ready for recycling
Plastic bottles ready for recycling

Cardiff, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy, Wrexham, and Blaenau Gwent are planning to start collections this year or early next year.

Although councils are generally on track to meet the target of recycling 40% waste by 2010, she wants to go considerably further, with up to 70% recycling by the year 2025.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) said the landfill tax increase - which came into force today in England and Wales - will add more financial pressures to councils.

"The landfill tax increase over the next three years is an additional burden and will amount to approximately 10.2m for Welsh local authorities in 2008-2009 and similar amounts for the next three years," said a WLGA spokesperson.

"No additional funding will be available to councils to cover this increase, therefore meaning that 10.2m will have to be taken off core waste budgets."

They say there is no additional funding for the increase, which will see them paying 32 to the Treasury for every ton of waste they dump in landfill.

It is up 8 a ton from last year but is designed to encourage more recycling.

The WLGA said it was now "economically and environmentally essential" that the public make use of recycling services available to them, so less waste is sent to landfill."

The landfill tax is designed to encourage councils to recycle more waste and make less use of landfill.

The much bigger increase this year is aimed at making them feel the financial pain of dumping rather than recycling.

Counties top 'green' league table
02 Jan 07 |  Mid Wales

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