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Grant feeds study to use waste food; Pilot project to turn scraps into soil conditioner.

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

A STUDY aimed at cutting the amount of waste food which goes to landfill was given the green light yesterday.

Berwick Community Development Trust will now be able to carry out a feasibility study on how food waste can be composted instead of dumped.

The project was one of a number of North East schemes awarded a total of pounds 80,645 by the Local Action on Global Issues grant-making programme to educate and raise awareness on environmental issues. The food venture will examine the level of food waste from outlets like supermarkets, stores, hospitals, schools and restaurants in the Berwick, Borders and North Northumberland area.

The plan is to mix the food with trade cardboard waste, which also currently goes to landfill, to produce a soil conditioner which can be used on farmland and for reclamation work.

"The amount of waste food which goes to landfill is incredible. It is just madness and it is something which we hope to resolve," said trust chief executive Russell Sandbach last night.

It is hoped the Berwick scheme, which was awarded pounds 3,200 to carry out the study and produce a business plan, could be replicated across the North East.

The Local Action fund is a partnership of The Greggs Trust, the Newcastle-based Community Foundation and the Shears Foundation, with further funding from the Sir James Knott Trust and an anonymous donor. Food also features in a project by the Scotswood Natural Community Garden in Newcastle, which was granted pounds 4,000. The Scotswood scheme will teach 100 children about how plants grow and where food comes from, with school groups planting and maintaining their own crops, culminating in harvesting and eating the produce.

Two Tyneside green festivals were also given cash boosts. An award of pounds 8,845 will enable North Tyneside Friends of the Earth to stage a family festival at Whitley Bay Metro Station on August 30 to raise awareness about climate change.

Newcastle Community Green Festival was given pounds 4,100 to showcase "low impact living". Sunderland's Community Environmental Educational Developments was allocated pounds 33,323 to fund its Green Wellbeing project.

It will focus on food growing, wildlife habitat creation and recycling and reusing material in community green spaces. The project will create three wildlife gardens, train five groups to run allotments, run seven wildlife gardening workshops and 26 recycling workshops.

With a pounds 1,400 grant, Newcastle-based Kids Kabin will work in partnership with Wharrier Street and Tyneview Primary schools in the city to run environmental workshops which encourage learning about environmental issues through making films, playing music and creating performances with dancing and acting.

Another pounds 2,486 has gone to the Byker-based Recykey' Bike venture to improve its bike repair and maintenance service and encourage more people to cycle. A grant of pounds 10,000 will help the Wark Recreational Charity in Northumberland improve the energy efficiency of the clubhouse.

Middlesbrough Environment City was given pounds 13,290 for a pilot project supporting voluntary and community organisations to reduce their environmental impact.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 14, 2008
Words:514
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