Government have published the Waste and Resources Strategy

Government have published the long awaited Waste and Resources Strategy. This strategy sets out how they plan to double resource productivity and eliminate avoidable waste of all kinds (including plastic waste) by 2050. It sets out how they will:

  • preserve our stock of material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy
  • minimise the damage caused to our natural environment by reducing and managing waste safely and carefully
  • deal with waste crime 
The Renewable Energy Association is delighted that the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove has recognised the need both to reduce food waste as well as to collect it for energy generation and use as a natural fertiliser. After a number of years of concerted effort from the REA and others,  we are delighted to read that the separate collection of food waste is to be rolled out nationally.

Jeremy Jacobs, Technical Director of the Renewable Energy Association, said:

"We have been pressing Defra for a number of years to follow the example of the devolved nations to mandate food waste collections, in order that this valued resource is better utilised, rather than being landfilled. We need more work on waste prevention measures but, alongside these, it is vital that both household and commercial food waste is captured within this initiative, with local authorities being sufficiently incentivised or funded to make this happen at the earliest opportunity. 

We are also keen to see that existing infrastructure is used effectively to treat  garden waste and food waste, where it is comingled, rather than send food waste excessive distances to AD facilities, many such in-vessel composting facilities already exist and have a valuable role to play in the treatment of food waste.

It is further welcome that the strategy aims to incentivise producers, at the top of the waste hierarchy, to ensure their products can be reused and recycled. Government need to consider how the funds raised from this will support activity to see much needed increases in recycling rates and ensure the available capacity of energy recovery technologies where recycling is not possible.

The REA is delighted at these policy proposals in the Strategy and looks forward to working closely with Government to increase food waste recycling across England.”

The REA, which has a large number of members involved in the anaerobic digestion and composting  sector handling food waste, has long campaigned for more food waste prevention measures as well as the need to collect food waste. Back in 2016 it led the way in promoting the topic when it commissioned a ground-breaking report from Eunomia consultants (funded by REA members Olleco) which recommended that food waste collection did not need to cost more when viewed holistically.

Posted: 18/12/18


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