09 Aug 2022

WATCH: New initiative to reduce food waste kicks off in Limerick

OVER 500 free household bins were handed out at a busy Limerick shopping centre as part of a nationwide initiative to tackle food waste and encourage segregation of household rubbish.

As part of the My Waste initiative, the Food Waste Separation Team set up shop at the Parkway Shopping Centre, in Limerick, handing out the starter kits and some easy-to-follow advice.

Speaking at the event, Pauline McDonogh, the Southern Region's Waste Prevention Co-ordinator,  said the pilot scheme will be expanded next year.

“This is a small pilot roadshow, and we are going to be rolling out a much bigger one next year to give one of these packs to every household in Ireland that wants one. The idea behind this is that we know people sometimes forget to separate their food waste in their kitchen.”

At the moment, 40% of food waste in Ireland is separated incorrectly, she explained.

According a recent survey, the main sources of food waste in the Irish foodservice sector is plate waste (38%), preparation waste (35%) and unserved food waste (27%).

A proportion of ‘unavoidable’ food waste comes from peelings and off-cuts. On average, this waste accounts for just 25% of food waste thrown away and food waste has been calculated to cost between €2.73 and €3.50 per kilogram.

Ms McDonagh, also noted that waste collectors have recently reported an increase of between 20 and 25% in food waste tonnage presented for disposal, while contamination (of recyclable waste) has decreased by more than 56%.

The food separations kits, which were handed out at the roadshow, contained a free kitchen caddy, a starter pack of caddy liners and an information leaflet.

When collected, the contents of food waste caddys is sent to be made into compost which is then used on farms or golf courses in Ireland or for anaerobic digestion.

“Food waste creates green jobs right across Ireland. In Limerick people are really interested in doing the right thing. I think Limerick can really lead the way on this,” said Ms McDonagh.

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