Almost 80,000 tonnes of organic, garden or food waste was collected from the kerbside in Shropshire last year.

Councillor Lezley Picton, portfolio holder for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said of this, almost 40,000 tonnes was organic, 11,000 tonnes was garden waste and 28,000 tonnes was garden waste mixed with food waste.

The figures were discussed by full council at a meeting on Thursday.

Councillor Picton said: “Veolia collected a total of 39,218 tonnes of organic waste from the kerbside. 

“This was comprised of 10,792 tonnes of garden waste and a further 28,426 tonnes of garden waste mixed with food.

“Based on operational observations at the composting site, circa five to 10 per cent of the garden/food mix was estimated to be food.

“Compost output is not weighed separately but based on studies in other parts of the country and professional opinion, the output is approximately 70 per cent of the input and therefore circa 27,450 tonnes of compost.

“The pure garden waste is taken through a Windrow composting process and the mixture of garden and food waste collected in Shropshire is processed via In-VesselComposting, neither of which produce energy. 

“Food waste collected separately (i.e. not with garden waste) can be processed through Anaerobic Digestion (AD) which does produce a gas which can be used to generate electricity. 

“However, the greater costs of collecting separate food waste across a large, relatively sparsely populated, county cannot be offset by the additional benefits of the AD process.”

She added: “The potential benefits of separate collection were considered when the current contract was agreed, and also tested in 2013 and again during the review which led to cardboard recycling collections in 2016. 

“On each occasion the costs of separate food waste collection were found to be prohibitive in a largely rural county. 

“We acknowledge the benefits of the Anaerobic Digestion process but separate collection of food waste to provide a feedstock would need an increase in the waste budget to provide more vehicles, loaders and cover additional fuel costs. 

“Such an increase is not possible in the current financial climate and the estimated additional food waste diversion would not reduce disposal costs sufficiently to make it viable. 

“There is also a potential environmental argument against separate collections due to the additional vehicles and emissions etc – but that would highlight a conflict with the emerging Resources and Waste Strategy which is heavily focussed on nationwide weekly separate collections.”