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EU report calls for mandatory separate collection of biowaste

Mandatory separate collections for biowaste and recyclables should be put in place by EU member states, according to a new report published by the European Commission (EC).

The research, Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU, was led by the Copenhagen Resource Institute and German consultancy BiPRO and assessed the legislation and practice of separate collection systems for waste across the 28 EU member states.

Setting out recommendations, the report states that strict separate collections (one recyclable in one bin) "usually leads to higher recycling rates", and that mandatory separate collection systems for certain municipal waste fractions, e.g., waste paper, in addition to packaging waste, or mandatory separate collection of biowaste, should be introduced.

It says that the commingled-collection approach "can work", but the collected material can only be sorted to produce clean fractions if there is very little contamination.

Reducing contamination or "sorting mistakes" in the commingled bin is the largest challenge, it says.

The report is likely to be welcomed by the anaerobic digestion (AD) sector as it has repeatedly called on the government to back separate food collections.

Around two thirds of the sector's potential comes from treating food waste.

In a statement, UK-based trade association Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) said separate food waste collections have been proven to reduce overall waste arisings and achieve cost savings while allowing the material to be treated through AD.

This article was written by Liz Gyekye, editor at Bioenergy Insight.