Government urged to introduce food waste collections

The government has been urged to introduce food waste collections by the chief executive of the UK’s Anaerobic digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).
Industry
18/09/2018 - 09:07
The government has been urged to introduce food waste collections by the chief executive of the UK’s Anaerobic digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).

ABDA chief executive, Charlotte Morton, has written to senior ministers, including Michael Gove, Greg Clark and James Brokenshire, following suggestions that the inclusion of universal food waste collections for England in Defra’s forthcoming resources and waste strategy is ‘unlikely’.

Separate food waste collections are currently only available to a quarter of households in England, but to all households in Scotland, Wales and Northern Island.

When food waste is broken down in an oxygen-free environment by microorganisms in anaerobic digestion, it creates biogas, which can be used as a renewable energy source.

Morton’s letters urge the ministers to emulate the example set by other nations and allow households and businesses across England to separate their inedible food waste from other waste streams so it can be collected and be recycled into renewable energy and nutrient-rich biofertiliser.

Morton said: “Separating inedible food waste from other waste streams so that energy and nutrients can be fully recovered has huge environmental and economic benefits.

“The government has a clear opportunity in its Resources and Waste strategy to do the right thing and make the UK a leader in he growing circular economy by introducing universal food waste collections and meaningful support for local authorities in introducing these. Given the well-known scale of food waste and loss and its impacts worldwide, failing to do so would represent a real failure of leadership by ministers.”

Analysis by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) showed that the introduction of universal food waste collections in England would save up to £400 million in capital costs and £1.1billion in operational costs for local authorities between 2020 and 2050, even accounting for the cost of introducing weekly food waste collections.

Universal collections would also help local authorities to streamline their recycling systems and reduce the costs of sending black-bag waste to landfill.

ABDA estimated that universal collections for households alone would achieve a carbon saving of between 1 and 1.5million tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year, the same as taking three quarters of a million cars off the road. 

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