23 November 2018 by Joshua Doherty

Calls grow for ‘fast-tracked’ food waste collections

The UK’s trade body for anaerobic digestion (AD) has joined a coalition made up of retailers, charities and local authorities that have called on the government to “fast-track” the roll out of separate food waste collections in the UK. 

In doing so, the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) signed a joint statement that was presented to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove on Tuesday (November 20).

Trade body ADBA has joined a call for the government to ‘fast-track’ the roll out of separate food waste collections in the UK

ADBA says that a move to fast-track food waste collections would would allow “inedible food waste to be separated from other waste streams and recycled through AD and composting into renewable energy and natural fertiliser”. ADBA said it is hoped that the policy of universal food waste collections will be included in the government’s forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy.

According to ADBA, only around a third of households in England currently have food waste collections, whereas the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland “have all made separate collections mandatory”. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in October that he would “like to see” a national separate food waste collection scheme, the trade body reports.

Despite this, earlier this year following a meeting between the Organics Recycling Group of the Renewable Energy Association and the Defra officials working on the waste strategy, the group reported back that mandatory collections for food waste are “unlikely” because of the cost burdens they would mean for councils (see letsrecycle.com story).


“Separate food waste collections are vital in helping to make people more aware of how much edible food they are wasting.”

Charlotte Morton

Commenting on the coalition, Charlotte Morton, chief executive of ADBA, who wrote to Mr Gove earlier this week, said: “Separate food waste collections are vital in helping to make people more aware of how much edible food they are wasting and in ensuring that any inedible food waste can be recycled rather than being left to rot in landfill or wasted in incineration.”

Ms Morton added: “Fully recycling food waste is vital to allowing the UK to meet its climate-change commitments as well as restoring our soils, managing our wastes, and decarbonising our  energy supply.”


There are over 40 signatories to the letter including Iceland, the Renewable Energy Association, Wigan Council and Aquapak.

The letter outlined that the signatories had been discussing how they can best contribute to the strategy, and explained that a key element of getting it right includes food waste

“We know and understand the challenges: LA funding, existing contractual obligations, collection methodologies, treatment options and others. But they are not insurmountable if
the political will to tackle food waste is shown and central Government leadership is given,” the letter said.

It added: “A wide ranging group has come together as the Food Waste Coalition to send one simple, core message to you and the Government:
“We call on the Government to fast track universal food waste collections.”

Below: The food waste coalition signatories



In the letter ABDA added that it has been impressed with the response from stakeholders and the “wide range” of signatories received in a short time frame. ABDA admitted that each stakeholder will have their owned “nuanced reasoning” for  supporting the call; however it said all of them support the “principle of the need to resolve the food
waste issue” now in the forthcoming Strategy.


ADBA is the trade association for the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry in the UK and companies and organisations working on novel technologies and processes that compliment the anaerobic digestion process and products. With our members we promote the economic and environmental benefits of AD in the UK.


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