Northern Ireland unveils food waste law

Food businesses producing more than 50kg of food waste per week in Northern Ireland have to separate and recycle waste under a new law that came into effect on 1 April, 2016.

Published guidance describe a “food business” as being “an undertaking, whether carried on for profit or not, and whether public or private, carrying out any activity related to the processing, distribution, preparation or sale of food.”

There is no legislative requirement for food businesses that produce less than 50kg of food waste, to collect it separately between 01/04/2016 and 01/04/2017.

In April 2017, however, food businesses producing greater than 5kg of food waste per week, will be required to secure the separate collection of that waste.

The guidance, published by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, suggests appropriate systems should be established by a business that generates food waste to segregate and store it, to maintain quality prior to its collection.

It says the best way a business that produces food waste can promote high quality recycling of this waste stream is to segregate it, to ensure that separate collection is possible by a waste management service provider.

This move by the Northern Ireland government is likely to be welcomed by the anaerobic digestion (AD) sector as it has repeatedly called on legislators to back separate food collections.

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

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