Investment Minister Graham Stuart MP announced at the ADBA National Conference last week that the Government’s forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy will “require separate food waste collections” to reduce emissions from landfill and produce renewable energy and natural fertiliser through anaerobic digestion (AD).
The announcement is expected to divide opinion across the waste management sector, and Mr Stuart was unable to confirm whether food waste collections would have any knock-on effect on the frequency of residual waste collections or discuss a timeframe for the new policy.
Speaking at the conference, Mr Stuart said:
“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will shortly launch its Resources and Waste Strategy. It sets our objective to maximise the value we get from our resources while minimising the negative impacts of waste materials at the end of their working lives.
“It tackles long-standing issues like waste crime, collection systems, packaging and plastic pollution, including requiring separate food waste collections.”
Mr Stuart continued: “That’s a big step change and I know the industry will respond to this opportunity to develop the infrastructure we will need to ensure this separated waste stream is utilised.
It’s an absolute no-brainer that inedible food waste should be separately collected so it doesn’t end up wasted in incinerators or landfill and so that the energy and nutrition locked up in it can be reused, reducing the UK’s need for fossil-fuel-based energy and fertiliser.”
According to Materials Recycling World, the waste strategy will need to be reviewed by May’s office before going ahead, and it is unlikely to be released in December. However, Defra is still saying that the launch will be “before the end of the year”.
At the moment, only around a third of households in England currently have their food waste collected separately, whilst collections are universal in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Back in October, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he would “like to see” a national separate food waste collection scheme.