Mike Falconer Hall, organics programme manager at WRAP, has endorsed the case for separate food waste collections at the National Food Waste Conference in London.
Addressing delegates at the conference yesterday, which included local authorities, operators, charities and industry experts, Mr Falconer Hall explained that the business case for separate food waste collections under the right conditions is “positive”.
However, he explained: “You’ve got to work out what you are doing with your whole waste collection system at the same time, so for residual, frequency…”
Mr Falconer Hall was answering questions surrounding the food waste charity’s consistency work, which assesses the business case for greater consistency across local authority collections.
At the end of last year, WRAP’s work showed a ‘mixed picture’ in terms of the strengths of implementing the framework (see letsrecycle.com story).
WRAP found for some councils, introducing a separate food waste collection service where one is not already operating can represent an additional cost.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Falconer Hall said the consistency case, which has three options for collections – which all have separate food waste collections – is “challenging” for some local authorities, who may have very cheap charges for residual waste disposal.
However, he added: “Whether or not food waste collections are already in place, in 80% of them there are cost savings.”
WRAP’s organics programme manager was also keen to point out the work that the charity has been doing to raise awareness amongst householders, who he said, “throw away the greatest amount of food waste”.
“It’s around about 10 million tonnes within the UK, it’s a huge number, and clearly that’s a really challenging target to address because we need to look at is across the supply chain,” he explained.
However, he was quick to point out that around 40% of this is unavoidable, and emphasised the “key role” which AD has to play in managing that waste.
This view was supported by David Newman, President of the World Biogas Association.
He said: “If you look just at the business case for food waste collection in the current business as usual criteria, then sure it’s challenging, but the current business are usual criteria are disastrous.”
And he added: “There are no rewards for food waste collections as there are for example for packaging with the PRN system, so that could be reformed.”
During the session, Mr Newman spoke about the benefits of anaerobic digestion in creating green energy, as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
Delegates also heard from Dominika Jarosz, director of programmes at food waste charity, Feedback, who discussed some of the opportunities and challenges to food redistribution.
She also spoke about the impact which supermarkets have on food waste in the supply chain.
Although Ms Jarosz mentioned steps taken by supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Aldi, she explained that more still needs to be done.
This was reinforced by Mr Falconer Hall in his presentation, who said, despite officially wasting a smaller share of food compared to householders and manufacturers, factors such as two for one deals, labelling and rejecting food for aesthetic reasons, have a big influence on the supply chain.