The Government has outlined the challenges it may face if it introduced a landfill ban on food waste.
Speaking at the MRW Food Waste Collection and Processing Conference in London (27 October) the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs waste and resources director Neil Thornton said Defra was producing a study on how landfill bans on materials such as paper, food, glass, aluminium or wood could be implemented in the UK. The research is due to be published before the end of the year.
He said: There are issues of practicality of course. What do you mean by value of food waste? Do you mean there must be no food in the residual black bag? And if you dont mean that what do you mean?
Obviously, there are issues about capacity. There is no point in banning something if you have nowhere else to put it. On the other hand, the price is clear. The one thing we do not want to do is to landfill biodegradable materials and that is what food waste is.
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has recently set out his zero waste vision for the UK. Addressing an audience of local authorities and the waste industry at a waste summit (13 October) in London, he said: We need to rethink how we view and treat waste in the UK. Why do we send valuable items like aluminium and food waste to landfill when we can turn them into new cans and renewable energy?
Thornton said that at the waste summit Benn also talked of a consumer bubble which had become unsustainable, in which people had been buying one-trip products, with less repair and less longevity. Benn also said that the bubble was beginning to burst.