10 June 2016 | Martin Read
More needs to be done to improve food recycling and food waste capture, according to the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC).
In a joint statement, the two organisations have expressed concerns following the release last month of an REA report entitled ‘The Real Economic Benefit of Separate Food Waste Collections’. In the report, the REA concluded that food waste collected separately can, in a majority of cases, save money for local authorities and businesses in the UK. This is because:
- Separate food and other biowaste collections require fewer general waste collections (once the putrescible material has been removed on a weekly basis);
- Separately collected food and other biowaste significantly reduces the weight of general waste collections, in turn reducing the cost of disposing of general wastes in landfill;
- Gate fees for separately collected food waste are significantly lower at anaerobic digestion or composting facilities compared to landfill sites.
Jeremy Jacobs, technical Director at the REA, said:
“Increasing the volume of food waste that is collected separately is critical to meet our legally binding recycling target of 50 per cent by 2020. There is an urgent need for new policy; collaboration and consensus are the strongest tools we have available to achieve it.”
Jacobs believes the renewables industry is sensitive to the tight budgetary constraints that most local authorities face: “We are open to working with them to deliver workable solutions and innovative funding models”.
Concerns about UK-wide separate food waste collections have focused on the need for more collaboration between industry and local authorities.
LARAC chair Andrew Bird said: “Local authorities are under extraordinary pressure at the moment and for the foreseeable future, and each faces their own difficult budgetary choices. We know that the REA understands this, and we see the point of their report – that there are potential savings to be made with separate food waste treatment compared to residual waste disposal, and this can help offset additional collection costs.”