EXCLUSIVE: Defra’s Resources and Waste Strategy will require separate food waste collections.
That was the announcement today from Graham Stuart, minister for investment at the Department for International Trade who was the keynote speaker at the ADBA National Conference this morning in London.
Despite the big announcement, which is expected to divide opinion across the sector, Mr Stuart gave away few details in terms of the timeframe for the new policy. And, he also made no comment on whether food waste collections would have any knock-on effect on the frequency of residual waste collections.
Addressing delegates at the conference, Mr Stuart said: “The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will shortly launch its Resources and Waste Strategy. It sets our objective to maximise the value we get from our resources while minimising the negative impacts of waste materials at the end of their working lives.
“It tackles long-standing issues like waste crime, collection systems, packaging and plastic pollution, including requiring, requiring, separate food waste collections.”
Mr Stuart continued: “That’s a big step change and I know the industry will respond to this opportunity to develop the infrastructure we will need to ensure this separated waste stream is utilised.”
And, in terms of the AD industry, Mr Stuart said the Government understands that it offers “remarkable possibilities” for the UK’s future. And, he added: “Few industries in the UK can boast such a combination of advantages for the environment, for our economy and need for international development”.
Defra’s waste strategy is expected to be published in the coming weeks, however, the department’s stance on separate waste collections has been uncertain up until this point.
The minister was giving a keynote address about the global opportunities for anaerobic digestion, following on from ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton and David Newman, president of the World Biogas Association.
Giving a welcome address, ADBA’s Ms Morton highlighted the AD sector’s potential to reduce global emissions. And, Ms Morton explained that the industry can reduce emissions by as much as 5% in the UK, which she said is a “huge amount for one industry”.
On collections, ADBA’s chief executive described food waste being sent to landfill or incineration as a “scandal”.
“Right now we really need government to act, to put in place the support that this industry needs to grow and to deliver the emissions reduction and benefits that we all need,” she stated. “We need the UK government to put in long-term incentives for the generation of renewable heat and transport.”
On Brexit, Ms Morton described the policy and economic uncertainty as “paralysing” and a “massive distraction” from threats such as climate change.
Ms Morton also revealed the association would be looking to appoint a chair in the New Year, to replace the duties of chief executive. Ms Morton will remain on the advisory board of ADBA.