A ban on landfilling separately collected food waste in Northern Ireland could be in place by 2015, along with a full introduction of compulsory separate food collections by April 2017.
Proposals published by Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment (DoE) would require councils to roll out household separate food waste collection services by 1 April 2016.
A consultation on the proposals said the move was necessary to exploit an ‘important resource’ and to save the sewer system from further damage from build-up of fat, oil and grease deposits.
It said energy recovery through anaerobic digestion plants would be particularly beneficial.
The DoE recommended a phased introduction of the regulations for non-domestic food waste producers based on the amount of food waste produced.
Businesses that produce more than 50kg of food waste per week would be required to separate this for collection from 1 April 2016. Those that produce more than 5kg of food waste would be required to separate this for collection from 1 April 2017.
A DoE risk assessment said: “…rolling the regulations out in a phased basis … will give sufficient lead-in time to facilitate the investment in infrastructure that is required, and give smaller producers of food waste a greater lead-in time, to make alternative arrangements, in preparation of the proposed regulations coming into effect.”
It also warned that regulatory intervention was necessary in order to keep track with EU waste directives and said: “In addition to this, without regulatory intervention, there will be a lack of certainty regarding feedstock for alternative waste treatment facilities, which may result in a lack of investment in this market.”