Gove told to grasp ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity on food waste

A coalition of packaging industry stakeholders have joined forces to urge Michael Gove to fast-track plans for separate food waste collections as part of DEFRA’s new Resources and Waste Strategy for England.

Organisations including Iceland, Vegware and Greenpeace are among over 40 stakeholders that have signed up to a letter, coordinated by the Anaerobic and Digestion Bioresources Association (ADBA), which expresses the group’s “overwhelming desire” to resolve the food waste issue in the forthcoming strategy.

In the letter to the environment secretary Michael Gove, the ADBA’s managing director David Newman wrote that the strategy, which is expected to be published before Christmas, represented a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to ensure the UK has a long-term plan for its resources and waste management.

Newman noted that getting food waste collection and treatment right would be a key element of the new strategy for a host of reasons including: “climate change, recycling targets, better management of dry wastes, renewable energy production, topsoil recovery through composting, waste reduction and prevention, new employment and not least, respecting the new Waste Framework Directive time line […] for mandatory food waste collections across the EU”.

The EU Waste Framework Directive requires that by 31 December 2023, bio-waste must be separated and recycled at source, or must be collected separately and not mixed with other types of waste.

Newman said the group understood the challenges around food waste, including local authority funding, existing contractual obligations, collection methodologies and treatment options, but claimed these were “not insurmountable if the political will to tackle food waste is shown and central government leadership is given”.

The list of signatories to the letter includes multinational and national corporations, UK SMEs, trade associations, and several local councils.

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