As of January 1, food waste recycling is now compulsory in the United States city of Seattle, after the City Council passed an ordinance in September 2014 prohibiting food from residential and commercial waste.
Based on the success of Seattle’s existing recycling and green waste ordinances, which were banned from residual waste in 1988 and 2005, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) projects that the food waste law will divert 38,000 tonnes of food scraps from landfill via composting.
It is hoped the move will aid the city in achieving its goal of recycling and composting 60 percent of its waste by 2015.
Prior to the ban, Seattle sent approximately 100,000 tonnes of food waste 300 miles to a landfill in Eastern Oregon each year.
An education campaign was rolled out in October 2014, informing residents and businesses of the impending ban.
The ban includes all food waste, compostable paper, including food-contaminated cardboard, paper napkins and paper towels.
SPU will begin enforcing the law on July 1, 2015, when all commercial establishments that generate food waste or compostable paper will have to subscribe to a composting service, compost their food waste on-site, or “self-haul” their food waste for processing.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face penalties in the form of fines ranging from $1-50.
In a recent survey, the Council found 74 percent of people supported the ban and 11 percent opposed it.
UK Food Waste
The ban comes only days after Labour revealed that a promise to deliver a ban on food waste from landfill, should the party win the General Election in May, was never adopted as policy. (See CIWM Journal Online story)
A Tory dossier costed the food waste ban at £477m in the 2015/16 financial year, which forced Labour to reveal that banning food waste from landfill was never adopted as policy, and is not in the latest national policy forum document.
Labour says the Party’s National Policy Forum (NPF) didn’t agree the ban, despite it being promised in a 2013 speech by the then-shadow environment secretary, Mary Creagh.
According to the Green Alliance report published last year, More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans, landfill bans could help stimulate better collection systems, which could underpin investment in infrastructure and create up to 47,500 jobs in industries such as anaerobic digestion, textile recycling, panelboard, plastics and electronics manufacturing.
It says that banning plastics from landfill could create up to 16,100 jobs, 12,100 from banning food waste, 9,500 jobs from a waste electrical and electronic equipment ban, 3,200 from wood and 6,600 from banning textiles. (See CIWM Journal Online story)
For more information on the Seattle food waste ban CLICK HERE