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CIWM conference: anaerobic digestion must ‘grow up fast’ over safety

The anaerobic digestion (AD) industry needs to “grow up fast” and address health and safety issues that have affected the sector, according to experts in the industry.

Speaking at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management’s annual conference in London, Nina Skorupska and Alexander Madden, chief executives of the Renewable Energy Association and Agrivert respectively, both highlighted the need for increased safety during a session on biowaste and food waste.

Howard Leberman, senior advisor for site-based regulation at the Environment Agency said he “had seen a lot of bad practice” in the AD sector, which the industry had to address.

Moving away from safety concerns, Madden called for a landfill ban for food waste so that “AD can survive”. He also warned that the odour associated with the industry must not be allowed to become “the stick that broke” composting.

Skorupsa also bemoaned the fact that AD comes under the ‘recycle and compost’ category within the waste hierarchy and should be moved under ‘recovery’, which she felt better reflected its contribution.

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