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Local authorities assess maceration for food waste

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee has met with the water industry to discuss the problems of food waste and whether macerators are the best way of dealing with it.

At a meeting in London on 23 March, LARAC and the water industry discussed potential solutions of how householders could best dispose of food waste. They came to a consensus that minimisation of food waste should come first.

Macerators are food shredders that can be installed in the plugholes of household sinks. The macerator shreds the waste which is then disposed of down the same route as waste water. Food waste then goes into the sewage system and then can be processed using anaerobic digestion.

Speaking to MRW principal policy officer Andrew Craig said: We havent arrived at any conclusions or any form of agreement. We never intended to do that. But our main intention was to have dialogue between the local authorities, water industry, the Waste & Resources Action Programme and the Energy Saving Trust.

The conclusions we drew from that meeting is that we both see common ground and are both interested in reducing food waste and we will continue to work with WRAPs Love Food Hate Wastecampaign.

Craig said that councils and the water industry are working together to find the best solution whether it be using macerators or collecting food waste separately: It is not necessarily either, or. Not every household will have a macerator it is not going to happen.

He said that with the growth in AD technology, macerators could go hand in hand for sustainably treating food waste.

Craig also explained that more food goes down the sink than people realise. He said: Tea grains, milk, remnants from orange juice and food from the dishwasher all goes down the drain. And one of the major problems the water industry faces is an increase in blockages from fats, oils and grease.

He added that education was the key for both the public and commercial organisations to stop them putting food down the sink and finding ways of reusing oils again.

Craig said from a water industry point of view macerators are traditionally seen as contributing to costs because of the food that goes down the sewage system. But he said from a council point of view some see it at as a way of saving money from not having to pay for separate household food collections.


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