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Food industry heads towards zero landfill

The proportion of food and packaging waste sent to landfill has fallen sharply, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has said.

Its Members’ Waste Survey, published jointly with WRAP, found only 3% of food and packaging waste was disposed of in landfill in 2012, compared to 16.5% in 2006.

FDF director of sustainability Andrew Kuyk said: “These latest findings highlight that FDF members are close to achieving our zero food and packaging waste target by 2015 by ingraining good environmental practices to deliver a more resilient and resource efficient supply chain.”

The report said that in 2012, manufacturers prevented 250,000 tonnes of food from entering the waste stream by redistributing it to other uses, notably to animal feed.

Recycling showed a significant increase with 28% of all waste managed in this way, increasing to 96% for used packaging.

WRAP’s head of food and drink Andy Dawe said: “We are delighted to see these latest results which show good progress from the industry. With waste to landfill now so low, businesses should grasp the opportunity to focus on the greater financial savings achievable through focussing on waste prevention.”

The report was based on responses from 84 sites which gave full information on waste management and collectively accounted for over 138,000 tonnes of waste.

Some 4,200 tonnes, equivalent to 3%, were sent to landfill.

Landspreading was the major management method used, followed by recycling and thermal treatment with energy recovery, which was the dominant route for mixed waste.

The FDF said this suggests that much of the waste previously landfilled was being diverted to energy from waste rather than undergoing better segregation to enable recycling, anaerobic digestion or composting.

“There is still opportunity for increased segregation in order to enable more recycling of this waste,” the report noted.


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