West Norfolk waste officers ‘working on better food bags’

Officials are looking at ways to improve the quality of food waste bags available to residents in West Norfolk amid criticism from residents.

But council chiefs have also revealed a fresh document on the current food collection programme will go before members next month.

The bags, which go into residents’ kitchen caddies, are currently sold at West Norfolk Council’s offices, as well as more than 20 other locations around the borough.

But the borough council’s latest meeting, held last Thursday, was told that the bags were not suitable for the job.

Labour’s Andy Tyler said: “Even if you’re careful almost every other one tears and you pay for these bags. I have had complaints from several people. If you buy something faulty in a shop you have the right to replace it.”

And Conservative backbencher Geoffrey Wareham agreed, adding: “They’ve certainly deteriorated They’re no longer suitable. I no longer buy them from the council. I buy them from Tesco.”

Ian Devereux, the council’s cabinet member for environment, said officials were aware of concerns relating to issues including the size and durability of the bags.

He said: “There is work ongoing to look at alternative sources and discussions going on with the [Norfolk] Waste Partnership.

“It’s well understood and the team are in action.”

He also pledged to take up the question of whether residents could be refunded for damaged bags.

The exchanges came just days after the authority reported a 50 per cent surge 
in the daily food waste collection rate over the Christmas period.

Labour leader John Collop questioned why the council’s statement on the figure claimed the collections had “yet to reach its full potential” four years after it was introduced.

Although Mr Devereux had urged residents to use the caddies more, instead of putting food waste in black bins, he said the amount of food waste had been gradually falling.

He said: “You can speculate what the reasons might be but basically we believe homeowners are not buying so much or wasting so much.”

Mr Devereux said he had signed off on a working paper on the scheme that will be presented to the council’s enviornment and community panel in February.

He added there were “difficult” issues to consider in relation to the scheme.