The Waste and Resources Action Programme has reviewed de-packaging equipment for food waste in order to encourage more efficient food waste reprocessing.
WRAP commissioned SLR Consulting to review available equipment which segregates packaging from food waste. The Review of Food Waste De-packaging Equipment was published on 4 August.
The review provides anaerobic digestion and in-vessel composting operators with details of ten food waste de-packaging technology suppliers to help operators avoid feedstock contamination and other problems caused by the packaging.
WRAP director of retail and organics Richard Swannell said: Food waste processors have found that recycling packaged food waste has been a problem in the past. However, this report highlights that there is now a wide selection of de-packaging equipment on the market.
By compiling this information into a simple online format, we hope to encourage IVC and AD operators, and retailer and food manufacturers alike to consider how this technology could benefit them.
It is hoped IVC and AD operators will use this technology in order to further provide additional capacity for processing separately collected food waste, which is expected to play a significant role in achieving the landfill directive targets.
Packaging in food waste contaminates the feedstock for reprocessors. It is a particular problem for wet AD systems where plastic packaging forms a surface layer on the digestate and broken glass from packaging can also cause blockages in these systems. Furthermore, if the digestate visually contains a large amount of plastics it will not comply with the PAS110 requirement, resulting in further screening to remove the plastic. According to WRAP commercial and industrial food waste contains a higher percentage of packaging than domestic food waste.
Currently, only two AD plants in the UK have food waste de-packaging equipment installed, according to WRAP.