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Defra urged to reconsider food waste collections

food waste

Food waste specialist ReFood has called on ministers to include mandatory local authority food waste collections in the upcoming resources and waste strategy, after Defra officials indicated that the measure would be too expensive.

During a meeting in June between the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Defra’s resources and waste strategy team, it emerged as being “unlikely” that mandatory collections would be introduced in England.

The REA said imposing additional financial burdens on councils was a “significant concern” for Defra.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all increased their recycling rate by introducing household food waste collections. England’s recycling rate has stalled in recent years. 

Currently, around half of English councils offer a separate food waste recycling service.

ReFood called for a “consistent, UK-wide approach to local authority food waste collections”. 

Commercial director Philip Simpson said: “There is currently no legislation [regarding] food waste recycling in England – only guidelines, which are left to local authorities – which is undoubtedly holding us back.

“England must learn from its UK counterparts and implement similar initiatives to eliminate food waste to landfill.

“Separate food waste collections may seem like an easy budget cut for local authorities, but the success of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland show that the roll-out can pay dividends – both environmentally, and financially.”

Earlier this year, Barnet Council announced that it would cease food waste collections in order to save money. The move angered London mayor Sadiq Khan, who threatened to use his powers to force Barnet to carry on with the service.

Other councils, including Wolverhamton and Wirral, have said they cannot afford to introduce the service.

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