FAMILIES have been praised for contributing to a huge rise in the amount of food waste recycled in Southend.

From April to August 2013, 64 per cent more food waste was recycled compared to the same period in 2012.

The increase is being put down to the introduction of blue food waste collection bins in March last year.

The amount of discarded food that is recycled increased by 822 tonnes and if the trend continues, it could save £200,000 in annual landfill costs.

The impressive figures have been welcomed by Tony Cox, Southend councillor responsible for public protection, waste and transport.

He said: “This is a fantastic improvement.

“It’s all thanks to residents across the borough recognising the need to recycle food waste and taking the time to sort their waste.

“All of this food waste can now be turned into compost rather than sent to landfill – helping the environment and saving money.”

Residents are now able to request free replacement rolls of compostable food waste liners by placing a reusable hanger on the handle of their collection bin thanks to additional Government funding.

For more information about food recycling, or to arrange for a collection bin to be delivered, call 01702 617766 or visit www.southend.gov.uk and click on recycling, rubbish and waste.