Representatives of the waste industry have expressed their opposition to strong EU-level regulations on food waste reduction in a parliamentary inquiry.
Lords on the EU sub-committee on agriculture, fisheries, environment and energy heard from Roy Hathaway, Europe policy advisor at the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Stuart Hayward-Higham, technical development director at Sita UK and Robert Hunt, executive director, Veolia for an inquiry into food waste reduction on 11 December.
The committee is looking into the EU’s contribution to food waste prevention in light of its aspiration to reduce food waste by 50% by 2020.
ESA’s Hathaway said the organisation did not support the introduction of a Europe-wide food waste reduction target.
“It would me more sensible for member states to set individual targets if they wish to do so, because those targets would reflect the amount of waste arising, the scope, the data, whether there is any previous history of having making any progress in this area or not,” he said.
Hathaway suggested that the European Commission required member states to take actions to reduce food waste to a deadline and report back to the Commission on what they achieve, as it had done to encourage a reduction in the use of plastics bags.
Introducing regulations to reduce food waste was not advisable, noted Sita’s Hayward-Higham. “It can be a very blunt instrument and it [solving food waste] is a very subtle solution. Incentives are the drivers to promote that subtlety,” he said.
Raising awareness on the issue of food waste was also an important element, industry representatives agreed.
Veolia’s Hunt praised the importance of school visits to recycling facilities. Veolia had been running several of them to make children understand the importance of waste management, he noted.
“We had a toy MRF designed by the Science Museum where they can actually play, and it actually sorts the metals, the plastics and the cards… so they can actually see what is going on,” he said.