UK government commits to separate food waste collections

In a long-awaited Resources & Waste Strategy report, the UK government has outlined a comprehensive new plan for recycling a range of materials, including food waste. The 25 year environment plan pledges to leave the environment in a better condition for the next generation.

The new strategy states that it wants to promote UK-based recycling and export less waste to be processed abroad. It will also aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill by ensuring that every UK household and appropriate business will have weekly separate food waste collections.

Currently, only about a third of households in England have their food waste collected separately from their general waste. Between 2000 and 2001 household recycling rates rose from around 11% to 45% however since 2013 that percentage has plateaued.  In order to address this issue, the government’s strategy sets out an ambition for all homes as well as suitable businesses in England to have access to food waste collections by 2023.

To help businesses and local authorities plan before the strategy, a new statutory Food Waste Hierarchy has been published.  It now confirms that anaerobic digestion is the best route for inedible food waste that cannot be redistributed.

The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has expressed its support for the government’s decision to commit to separate food waste collections.

Commenting on the government’s new strategy, Chief Executive of ADBA, Charlotte Morton said, “ADBA has long campaigned for the introduction of mandatory separate food waste collections in England and we warmly welcome the proposals set out in the Resources & Waste Strategy.”

“A commitment by ministers to universal food waste collections will finally allow England to catch up with the rest of the UK in recycling its inedible food waste whilst, most importantly, reducing the amount of food wasted in the first place.”

Morton concluded, “However, 2023 is a long way off. There are around 70 local authorities with their waste contracts up for renewal in the next three years – for this policy to have tangible effects we need actions from the Government long before 2023 to provide funding, guidance and support to LAs to implement separate food waste collections as quickly as possible. This is not only vital for us to meet our commitments under the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but is also the lowest cost option.”



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