Environment secretary Michael Gove has stressed the need for more food waste recycling but failed to commit to any action.
In a speech on climate change, he said the Government’s expected resources and waste strategy would “set out measures to improve resource productivity, maximising the value of products by increasing reuse and recycling, and minimising waste”.
He added: ”We are determined to create a more circular economy.”
Gove said it would be a “particular priority of my department to end the environmental, economic and moral scandal of food waste”.
Landfilling food produced methane, so the Government wanted to “ensure more councils collect food waste separately and send it to anaerobic digestion plants to create green biogas for heating our homes and fertiliser to improve the soil”.
He added that the Government has already created a £15m fund to redistribute surplus food that would otherwise be wasted to charities.
The speech contained no specific measures of the kind called for earlier this month by the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) and the Resource Association. They urged a ‘fast-track’ move to separate food waste collections in England.
ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “He is absolutely right in everything he says about the scandal of food waste and the need for separate food waste collections to ensure that inedible food waste is recycled into renewable energy and natural fertiliser, rather than being wasted in incineration or landfill.
“What we now need in the Government’s forthcoming resources and waste strategy is a clear commitment to rolling out food waste collections across the whole of the UK. along with the requisite funding to ensure that cash-strapped local authorities have the resources to implement this solution.
”Anything less will make it impossible for Mr Gove to meet his commitment to end the scandal of food waste.”
In his speech, Gove paid tribute to Defra chief scientific adviser Ian Boyd. In December last year, Boyd warned that converting all councils to separate food waste collections would cost up to £20m and “require a robust business case”.
Gove said he and ”we all in this country” owed Boyd a “special debt”. “Everything we do at Defra has to be rooted in science,” he added.
- This article was updated at 16.33 to include the quote from ADBA