Facing a lack of support from the European Commission on this issue, the UK’s largest renewable energy trade association is urging the UK Government to follow Scotland and Wales in introducing mandatory food waste recycling.
The Scottish Government and the Welsh executive already compel their local authorities to collect household food waste and the London-based Renewable Energy Association (REA) said that ‘it’s time England did the same’.
There is a growing business case for the separate collection of food waste. Reports from English local authorities and early results from independent research commissioned by the REA indicate that councils tasked with waste collection could reduce their costs and improve their balance sheet by collecting food waste separately.
Anaerobic digestion (AD), a form of organic waste management, creates resilience to these trends by using resources that we may otherwise send to landfill, particularly food waste. The process turns the waste into biogas (which can be used to heat homes and cook food) and organic fertiliser (called digestate). It provides alternative incomes to many farmers and rural communities, supporting the countryside economy.
Jeremy Jacobs, Technical Director at the REA, said: “Our discussions with councils lead us to believe that the collection of food wastes from homes and businesses makes business sense, not just environmental sense.
“Facing a lack of support from the European Commission on this issue, we think it critical to push this cause and support a strong domestic biogas industry. It provides new incomes to many living in rural areas, is a growing source of employment, and enhances our sustainability.
James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the REA, added: “The 12 damaging policies to the renewables industry that have emerged so far from this new Tory-majority Govt, and lingering questions for the AD industry around the Feed-in Tariff and pre-accreditation, are doing serious damage to the UK’s reputation.
“In light of this, we have publicised our Food Waste Push. We’re looking for thousands of signatures from the public to back separate food waste collection across England. This supports national food production, energy security, and green growth.”
See also Scottish Energy News (30 Oct 2015)
Food waste generates strong growth in Scots anaerobic-digestion (AD-)power sector