31 August 2016 by Robin Nierynck

REA pushes food waste campaign post-Brexit

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) is pushing on with its #foodwastecounts campaign for separate food waste collections in the UK amidst Brexit challenges.  

Wirral council will be introducing one of two proposed food waste recycling schemes

The REA will continue its food waste campaign despite Brexit uncertainty

The Association, which includes the Organics Recycling Group, said the campaign gained strong momentum leading up to the referendum and despite the challenges of Brexit the issue remains as important today as it was before the vote.

Campaign

The REA launched its petition in November last year (see letsrecycle.com story), calling for a “UK-wide directive to local authorities and industry compelling mandatory separate collection of untreated biowaste (including food waste) from domestic, commercial and industrial sources.”

The Association and its Organics Recycling Group (ORG), represent organic waste treatment firms including anaerobic digestion (AD) site operators and composters and are petitioning the Treasury to bring in the measures in line with Scotland and Wales.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations, introduced on 1 January 2014, require local authorities north of the border to offer a food waste recycling service in non-rural area from January 1 2016. A ban on all municipal biodegradable waste to landfill is due to follow in 2021.

Alongside the monitoring of the quality of biowaste, the Association is also looking to promote the separate collection of garden waste – and has in the past been critical of the growing trend among English councils to charge householders for the service.

Momentum

Commenting on the campaign, Jeremy Jacobs, technical director at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “The campaign generated strong momentum and earned good media attention in the spring and summer before the Brexit vote.

new_jeremy photo

Jeremy Jacobs, technical director at the REA

“Since then, the REA team has taken time to regroup and relaunch our various initiatives following a series of Town Hall meetings in London and Manchester with member companies.

“Brexit or not, certain realities remain. There is a strong business case for local authorities to take up separate food waste collections. There remains a clear opportunity for the UK to produce more of its own energy, and sustainably, from anaerobic digestion (AD).

“There are exciting areas emerging associated with AD that the UK can become a leader in, such as the use of biomethane in transport. We still need to reduce the significant emissions emanating from food waste decomposing in landfills in order to meet our long-term decarbonisation goals, and frankly reducing waste is an important thing in its own right.

Challenges

Mr Jacobs added: “Equally, challenges have emerged from the Brexit vote. Civil servants have communicated that despite them emanating from the EU, the Government still regard our 2020 renewable energy and recycling targets as legally binding.

“Whether this remains true if we leave before then, however, remains a question.

“Regardless, the REA are pushing on with the campaign and are proud of the coalition that is being built- with local authorities, businesses, and civil society groups alike. Keep an eye out for news and events over the coming year.”

Published on change.org, the petition has received 262 supporters at the time of writing.

Related links

Food Waste Counts

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