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Green Mark's European Social Fund Technical Assistance Newsletter - February 2014

Green Mark's European Social Fund Technical Assistance Newsletter - February 2014

5 March 2014

Peter Bedford Housing Association closes the loop through composting!

Green Mark client, Peter Bedford Housing Association, is closing the loop by introducing a scheme to compost the food waste produced in their canteens.

Through the "From Plot to Plate" project, fresh produce is used for meals prepared in Peter Bedford's kitchens, giving to local vulnerable people access to locally grown foods. Until recently the team had been composting at their Clissold and Isledon Kitchens while food waste from their other kitchens had been sent to landfill.

Landfilled food produces methane "a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. With composting systems now in place across all their canteens, Peter Bedford is able to turn their food waste into valuable products. “We are going to use the liquid to water and feed our domestic plants and we will use the compost in our plots to grow more food” says staff member, Leanne Penning proudly.

Leanne is currently collaborating with a number of colleagues to apply Green Mark recommendations across three of the housing association’s sites. This will improve Peter Bedford's environmental performance whilst reducing operational costs.

Peter Bedford Housing Association uses ‘Bokashi’ compost bins from Hackney and Islington Councils, available at £30 for an 18 litre bin. The Bokashi system ensures that food is broken down without rotting, to avoid bad smells. Unlike other systems, leftover cooked food waste can be added, including fish, meat and dairy along with vegetable peelings.

Although the composting process is very simple, the business has paid particular attention to communicating its new initiative. This has included a humorous poster campaign which shows composting as a step-by-step process.

Composting involves biodegradable materials being broken down at a speed by micro-organisms within a controlled and managed environment. This results in compost and bio-fertilisers which can be used as a substitute for inorganic fertilisers, providing a natural, organic alternative. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced through use of ‘in-vessel composting’ (IVC).

In the UK, approximately 11.8 million tonnes of food is wasted every year and this goes mainly to landfill (WRAP). In financial terms, this means that around £12bn a year is spent on food which is bought and then just thrown away (UN).

See Green Mark August 2013 Newsletter for ‘Tips for food waste-prevention and reduction’ to help you save time, money and the resources.

For more information about Peter Bedford's activities visit:

Legislation Update

Don't risk a £5,000 fine - Do you transport waste generated by your own business activities? From January 2014, you should register as a waste carrier (lower tier) if you regularly transport waste as part of your business. You may be fined up to £5,000 if you don't register.


About Green Mark

Green Mark is an environmental certification scheme which helps organisations to:

  • Manage their environmental impacts
  • Save money and resources
  • Evidence a commitment to sustainability

GLE is currently providing free Green Mark certifications to ESF funded organisations, as part of the ESF Technical Assistance programme. This support is available for organisations who hold an ESF contract directly, and those who participate as a formal partner.

To find out more telephone 020 7403 0300 or email

For more information about how Green Mark can help your organisation contact or telephone 02036 971253.

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