Separate food waste collections could be introduced as Thurrock Council looks to overhaul of its refuse collection service.

Food waste is currently collected along with garden waste in brown wheeled bins.

It is composted at high temperatures before being spread on fields in piles to decompose further. This is then spread out as a soil improver.

However, compostable food bags don’t degrade fast enough for this process.

A report to councillors on the cleaner, greener and safer overview and scrutiny committee, recommends separate food waste collections by September 2022.

If approved the council will begin looking for a suitable contractor.

The measures follow concerns raised with the council over its current methods of food waste disposal.

The report said: “This report outlines the details of treatment for each of the streams of household waste collected by Thurrock Council. Additionally the report seeks to address concerns regarding the end destinations of Thurrock Council’s waste and dispels any issues that it may be inadvertently disposed of inappropriately.”

General household waste from the grey or green bins is sent to Allington, an energy recovery site in Kent. The waste is incinerated under conditions that limit and control emissions to generate power and fed into National Grid, this supplies power and heat to homes across Kent.

Any recyclable materials are sold on to processors. Last year, more than 85 per cent of rubbish was reused or recycled. With items such bicycles, textiles and hardcore, all reused. Waste electronic items, batteries and fridges, are all recycled into their component parts. The use of landfill is avoided by using a mixture of energy from waste and sending bulky items to a recycling facility where items can be stripped into their component parts recycled.

Jon Fuller from South East Essex Friends of the Earth, said: “The council is absolutely right to set up a new scheme that keeps household food waste separate from garden waste. This will entail some inconvenience for the public, but it is essential if the UK is to reach the Net-Zero target to decarbonise our economy and improve our energy security.

“We currently spend £14 billion a year importing gas from abroad and have just suffered a massive price spike as global demand outstripped supply. To make the UK energy self-sufficient, we need a National Home Insulation Programme, to properly insulate homes, slash the demand for gas, and provide the gas we need to heat our homes.”

The committee will discuss the proposals on Thursday. (oct 7)