A new government consultation published yesterday, in which ministers committed to funding local authorities to introduce weekly food waste collections for all households in England, has been welcomed by the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry.
The consultation on consistency in household and business recycling collections in England proposes a requirement that from 2023, all local authorities should offer all households a separate weekly food waste collection. The consultation commits government to ensuring that local authorities are resourced to meet “new costs arising from this policy including upfront transition costs and ongoing operational costs”.
The proposals follow the publication of the government’s Resources & Waste Strategy in December and come on the back of strong and sustained campaigning by the AD industry and others who have argued the importance of separately collecting inedible food waste so it can be diverted from landfill and recycled through AD into renewable energy and natural fertiliser.
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), commented:
“The government’s commitment to funding weekly food waste collections for all households in England is fantastic news for the UK’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.
“The sooner universal food waste collections can be implemented the better, given the benefits to the environment and to council budgets. We estimate that universal food waste collections for households alone could achieve a carbon saving of up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year, the equivalent to taking three quarters of a million cars off the road, while the National Infrastructure Commission has estimated that they will save local authorities up to £400 million in capital costs and £1.1 billion in operational costs between 2020 and 2050.
“This news is a huge victory for ADBA and many others who have been calling for this policy for a number of years. England will now be able to emulate the great example set by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in diverting inedible food waste from landfill to AD plants that convert it into clean, green gas and nutrient-rich natural fertiliser, which is vital for restoring the UK’s depleted soils.
“We’ll be working closely with our members and partners across the industry over the coming months to put together our response to the consultation, and as an industry we stand ready to play our part in moving towards a resource-efficient circular economy.”
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