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Greater legislative support needed to eradicate food waste from landfill, says ReFood

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A food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) company is calling for “rejuvenated government support” in its drive to eradicate food waste from landfill.

ReFood, which has three AD facilities in the UK, has lobbied for a UK-wide ban since launching its ‘Vision 2020’ roadmap in 2013. The organisation believes that achieving the goal of preventing all food waste from going to landfill would be impossible without legislative support.

According to ReFood, UK landfill sites are “at bursting point” and with the greenhouses gases created by landfilling food waste threatening the environment, immediate action must be taken. “For the past seven years, we have been campaigning for a national ban on food waste to landfill,” said Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood.

“Working in partnership with trade bodies, celebrity chefs, politicians and thought leaders from across the food supply chain, we spearheaded the Vision 2020 movement in 2013 and have lobbied the government to change legislation ever since.”

Simpson said the traction of ReFood’s Vision 2020 plan has played an “instrumental part” in reducing the nation’s food waste, from 14 million tonnes to 10 million tonnes PCA), sending food waste to landfill is unfortunately still considered perfectly acceptable by law.

“Joined-up government support to make a positive change has always fallen short of expectations and, in result, we continue to lag far behind the global standard.

Recent efforts to reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill include the Resources and Waste Strategy, which Simpson suggests has since fallen by the wayside. He added: “We’ve experienced this situation many times before – excellent legislative vision marred by watered-down, piecemeal implementation.

“Already, talk of a firm ban has begun to weaken, while minimal progress has been made towards preparing such a change.

“In my opinion, food waste should be high on the political agenda. After all, insight from WRAP suggests that household food waste alone is responsible for generating 19 million tonnes of CO2e every year (equivalent to the emissions generated by 30% of cars on the road.”

In 2019, ReFood released a new report called New Food Waste Horizons, which details the progress achieved across the food supply chain. “While a national ban has not yet come to fruition, this new report reinvigorates our goal and details the route to achieve it,” said Simpson. “Legislative support is absolutely imperative and we urge the government to rejuvenate its support.”