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Wiltshire Council provides food waste collection update

Wiltshire Council has confirmed more details on its future waste collection services, following discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Published 21 February 2024

Wiltshire Council has confirmed more details on its future waste collection services, following discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). 

Although Defra has confirmed that, under the Environment Act 2021, weekly food waste collections should be provided by local authorities by 31 March 2026, it has provided dispensation to those councils who are unable to begin their service by that date due to existing contracts they have in place with service providers. Like other councils, Wiltshire Council finds itself in this position, and therefore has agreed with Defra that food waste collection will commence in the Wiltshire local authority area from 1 August 2027. Defra will provide some capital funding to councils to support the transition to this new service. 

In the meantime, the council will use the time it has to plan for the new collection service by educating, supporting and advising residents on how to deal with their food waste as effectively as possible. Building on its successful Recycling: Let's Sort It campaign, the council will continue to provide all the information residents need to re-use or recycle as much as they can. The success of the campaign has so far seen it win an industry specialist LARAC Celebration Award and last week (15 February) it was confirmed to be shortlisted for a prestigious 2024 LGC Award.  

The council is also working with Great Green Systems to offer Wiltshire residents discounted food waste composters, called a Green Johanna. Food waste composters are similar to traditional compost bins, but they are able to take all cooked and uncooked food waste including meat, fish, bones, dairy products, vegetables and fruit. The benefit of residents managing their food waste at the home is that less needs to be collected by polluting waste vehicles, and help reduce the size of the Wiltshire waste collection fleet collection. More information can be found at  

Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Environment, updated councillors on the council's food waste plans at Full Council on 20 February. 

Cllr Holder said afterwards: The changes through the Environment Act will have a significant impact on waste services throughout the country. We've been awaiting clear detail from Defra on these important issues for some time, so it's good to now have the necessary direction so that we can begin to plan these services in detail for our residents.  

We know people are rightly passionate about food waste collection and perhaps want the service earlier but due to our current contractual arrangements this isn't possible. However, in the meantime, we will be doing what we can do to support and advise residents before our collection service starts in 2027. There are plenty of ways to manage food waste effectively so that as much is recycled as possible and not wasted.  

Our Recycling: Let's Sort It campaign has proven to be a successful and effective way to get our waste minimisation and recycling messages and aims across, and we'll continue to use creative ways to engage with people on all things recycling. We know that most households want to do their bit and recycle as much as they can, and we appreciate their efforts and support with this.

Defra will also be looking to launch a national Deposit Return Scheme for all drinks containers (excluding glass) in 2025. This means customers would be charged an additional deposit fee when purchasing a drink in a single-use container which is then redeemed when the consumer returns the empty container to a return point. A further measure under the Environment Act6 2021 is that packaging producers will for the first time be required to fund the full cost of collecting and disposing of waste packaging, a cost which has typically been picked up by councils in the past.  The Government will announce more details on these schemes in due course. 

More information on the council's recycling services can be found at

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