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England’s first action plan to boost food waste recycling revealed

England’s first action plan designed to increase the quantity and quality of household and commercial food waste collected and recycled has been launched today.

Announced at UK AD & Biogas 2016 conference, the Food Waste Recycling Action Plan (FWRAP) developed by industry – including local authorities, waste treatment operators, private sector waste collectors, and industry bodies – will increase the amount of food waste collected and recycled by promoting greater collaboration across the food waste recycling supply chain.

Presented as a five-point plan, it highlights the current barriers to food waste recycling and practical solutions to overcome them as cost effectively as possible.  

According to Resources Minister Rory Stewart from the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, a “staggering” 10 million tonnes of food waste is thrown out in the UK every year.

“Not all of this food waste can be prevented or redistributed and this is where the food waste recycling sector has an important role to play in reducing the amount that goes to landfill,” said Stewart.

Of the 10 million tonnes of “post-farm gate” food wasted across the UK every year 40% is unavoidable, but still only 1.8 million tonnes is recycled.

Increasing this volume would bring significant economic and environmental benefits, according to the project founders.

For example, maximising available anaerobic digestion (AD) and composting capacity will produce energy and renewable fertilisers, as well as reduce the 20 million tonnes of CO2 produced annually by food waste.

The action plan helps operators of food waste treatment plants play their part in securing the long term supply of food waste at a quality required for their operations.

‘A positive process’

Responding to the launch of the FWRAP, Charlotte Morton, CEO of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), called the creation of the plan a “positive, collaborative process” between government, WRAP, trade associations, AD operators and local authorities.

“It sets out a series of practical actions which will help increase the capture and recycling of food waste which cannot be eaten. The AD industry is delighted that Minister Stewart has engaged in the plan, and welcomes his wider recognition that food waste policy is important for the UK’s economy and carbon budgets,” Morton said.

The Food Waste Recycling Action Plan is available via the WRAP website.

UK AD & Biogas is the biggest annual event in the UK AD industry, and is organised by the ADBA.