Local authorities and municipalities across the European Union (EU), including in the UK, need to “get ready” to introduce separate food waste collections, according to the heads of the global and UK food waste recycling associations.
The EU has this week published in its Official Journal its Circular Economy Package, which includes new targets of 65% recycling of municipal waste by 2035 and separate biowaste collections by December 2023.
The package will be binding on EU Member States from 4 July 2018, after which they will have two years to transcribe it into their own national laws.
Inedible food waste can be recycled through AD into biogas (which can be used to generate renewable heat and electricity and as a clean transport fuel) and digestate, which can be applied directly to land as a nutrient-rich biofertiliser.
Responding to the news, David Newman, President of the World Biogas Association (WBA), said: “It’s great to see that the new targets in the EU’s Circular Economy Package, particularly those for municipal waste and separate biowaste (food waste) collections, will enter into European law in just over a fortnight’s time.
Charlotte Morton, ADBA – “We fully expect the UK to implement these targets as an existing member of the EU”
“There are huge environmental, economic, and human-health benefits to separately collecting inedible food waste and recycling it into valuable resources using biogas technologies – our latest report suggests that doing this on a global scale would have the same impact in terms of CO2 emissions reduction as taking all cars in the EU off the road.
“Local authorities and municipalities across Europe now need to get ready to bring in food waste collections ahead of the legal deadline of December 2023.”
In May, WBA launched its landmark report, Global Food Waste Management: An Implementation Guide For Cities, written in partnership with the C40 Cities Food, Water & Waste Programme. The report offers guidance and case studies for global cities on food waste collection and recycling through AD.
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the UK Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said: “We fully expect the UK to implement these targets as an existing member of the EU. ADBA has campaigned long and hard for separate food waste collections to be brought in across England to emulate the successful examples set by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in separating and recycling inedible food waste through AD, so this is a huge moment for the circular economy in the UK.
“December 2023 is just over five years away, so local authorities in England need to start factoring the requirement for separate food waste collections into their plans and use contract renewals as an opportunity to introduce collections at the lowest possible cost and with maximum effectiveness.”
The news comes as some Councils are scaling back services in the face austerity, with Barnet Council recently voting to scrap is separate food waste collections in a bid to save money.
Extended Producer Responsibility
The EU Waste legislative package also revises the Waste Framework Directive and other directives, among which is the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, and includes minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility (EPR).
EucoLight, the European Association of lighting WEEE Compliance schemes says robust EPR requirements are vital for a successful transition to the Circular Economy. Making them legally binding guarantees the best functioning of EPR schemes.
Nigel Harvey, EucoLight Vice President and CEO of Recolight – “The inclusion of plans for an enforcement framework to ensure online marketplaces comply with their EPR obligations is particularly significant”
The commitment to improving transparency on financial matters and governance and operation of EPR organisations is important, along with the recognition of EPR as a “shared responsibility” for all actors involved, including distributors and waste producers, it says.
Marc Giraud, EucoLight Secretary General commented: “EucoLight’s 19 members consider that these measures constitute an important step forward in establishing a fair and level playing field amongst EPR schemes.”
Nigel Harvey, EucoLight Vice President and CEO of Recolight added: “The inclusion of plans for an enforcement framework to ensure online marketplaces comply with their EPR obligations is particularly significant, given the growth in non-compliance through some online retailers. Whether or not the UK chooses to implement the CEP post Brexit, this is one change that would be very beneficial to adopt.”