Traders offered financial carrot to encourage eco-friendly attitude

By Marijke Peters ECO-friendly traders in Crouch End want to set up a composting scheme to stop wasting unwanted food. Businesses are banding together to try to buy a massive machine to recycle leftover food and turn it into vegetable matter. Budgens mana

By Marijke Peters

ECO-friendly traders in Crouch End want to set up a composting scheme to stop wasting unwanted food.

Businesses are banding together to try to buy a massive machine to recycle leftover food and turn it into vegetable matter.

Budgens manager Andrew Thornton has teamed up with Cllr David Winskill and Chris Freeman of the traders' association to drum up enthusiasm from restaurants and shopkeepers.


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Mr Thornton said: "We are doing this for environmental reasons and to be more green.

"But lots of people are spending a lot of money on waste removal so it could save businesses money as well. This may be the financial carrot required to convince them, rather than saving the planet."

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The decision follows last week's report by environmental group Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) which found Britain throws nearly 7 tonnes of food in the bin each year - a third of all the food we buy.

The idea, which is still in its early stages, came about after the shop started stocking the UK's first biodegradable water bottle, invented by a local resident.

Mr Thornton said: "We have the product but we don't have any means of composting it. If people throw the bottles in the bin they go to landfill but if they put them into their garden compost heap they will sit there for ages without breaking down. They need to be heated to 60 degrees to biodegrade properly."

Haringey Council has recommended a Rocket composter, which can process up to 7,000 litres of organic material a week by heating it up in a metal drum and creating conditions required to help things decompose quickly.

The machine costs £20,000 and if the scheme is a success traders would need to chip in for two or three. Mr Thornton wants to install them in Budgens' car park but will need to carry out tests on how much noise and smell they create to see what impact it would have on local residents.

The scheme could follow a social enterprise model, where any profits are ploughed back into production and local residents are encouraged to get involved by buying the compost produced from the waste.

It has won the support of Middlesex University and researchers are currently looking for a grant to fund a feasibility study, which will assess whether the project is financially viable.

Cllr David Winskill said: "Crouch End has become one of the major centres for restaurants, cafes and bars as well as having a significant food retail sector.

"Back of the envelope calculations suggest the amount of organic waste produced by the commercial sector each year runs into several hundred tonnes and simply pouring this into landfill is a waste of resources.

"I hope we can tackle this problem and produce Crouch End's very own brand of compost.

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