A whopping 60 tonnes of food waste collected in North Devon will now be turned into energy.

North Devon Council (NDC) is now sending all the food waste householders put into their kitchen caddies to an anaerobic digestion plant in Holsworthy where it is turned into electricity and fertiliser.

The food waste collection service has proved successful, with council lorries now picking up some 60 tonnes every single week since the food caddy service came into use in June last year - around 4,500 tonnes to date.

Rodney Cann, executive members for waste and recycling, said: “The sad news is that we are wasting so much food, but the good news is it’s no longer going to landfill.

“Now our lorries won’t have to be transporting it to landfill at Deepmoor – it will be put into a skip and taken once a day.”

Until now the food waste had been going to a composter at Deepmoor, but Mr Cann said before it was separated from the green and black bins, much of it was still going to landfill.

He said in the summer, those who wanted it collected once a week had no option but to put it in their black bins instead of the green bin - and those who chose not to pay for the green bin collection service had no choice.

Devon County Council is responsible for the safe disposal of all household waste generated in the county.

Councillor Andrea Davis, cabinet member for infrastructure, development and waste, said a county wide snapshot of 1,800 black bins had shown that some 30 per cent of it was food waste.

She said more than 40 per cent of the contents of the bins could actually be recycled under the current system.

She added: “There’s a huge amount of food waste going into black bins and if we all made a bit more effort we could make a difference.

“What we’d like to see is people think about what they are buying in the first place, so before you go shopping check your fridge, plan your meals in advance and try and use up the leftovers you have.

“The cost to the authority of sending this material to waste instead of recycling is £6.7million per year.”

A trial of a three weekly black bin collection instead of two has been hailed a success by NDC, but it is unlikely to come into effect until next year.

Mr Cann added: “When there are problems we do look to encourage people to recycle the correct way.

“We are trying to change the culture in North Devon, whether it’s plastic, food waste or rubbish, people are starting to sit up and take notice.

“Our recycling rates, particularly in the trial areas, are very encouraging indeed.”