A FOOD waste collection pilot scheme for restaurants and cafes has been so successful it will now will have its own dedicated recycling vehicle.
South Hams District Council diverted so many tonnes of waste away from landfill to recycling plants that it has now decided to expand its twice-weekly collections of raw and cooked waste.
Waste food from businesses is literally eaten by bacteria and turned into bio fertiliser.
The methane gas produced as a by-product is used to power an electricity generator. Surplus electricity is sold on to the National Grid.
South Hams councillor for environment services, Rufus Gilbert, said: "This new service, which will now have its own dedicated vehicle, promises to be a great boon for restaurants, hotels and cafes — a real incentive to lower their waste disposal costs and provide greener credentials which we know customers are really keen to see businesses adopt."
At present, all food waste is taken for processing to Langage Farm's anaerobic digestion facility based near Lee Mill, Ivybridge.
The expanded service has received support from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the not-for profit-company which works with businesses, individuals and communities to help them reap the benefits of reducing waste, developing sustainable products and using resources in an efficient way.
WRAP is funded by all four governments across the UK and the EU and runs programmes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Beverley Mason, South Hams commercial waste manager, said: "An initial trial has been successful and already 110 tonnes of food waste has been collected in the last year. Our target is 1,000 tonnes.
"The council already provides businesses with an opportunity to recycle paper, cardboard, tins and cans, plastics and glass, and we are delighted to offer this additional sustainable service.
"We can offer businesses the opportunity to reduce their overall waste management costs, and decrease the carbon footprint resulting from their business activities."
Businesses interested in learning more about the food collection service or other recycling opportunities should contact the commercial waste team at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01803 861256.