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'Robust case' needed for food collections

Converting all councils to separate food waste collections would cost up to £20m and require a robust business case, Defra’s chief scientific adviser has warned.

ian boyd

ian boyd defra

Professor Ian Boyd (pictured) said councils were finding it increasingly difficult to introduce such collection rounds, with 109 of the UK’s 400-plus local authorities now implementing them.

Boyd told delegates at the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA)’s National Conference in London that, of 10 million tonnes of post-farm gate food waste produced each year, 60% was avoidable. He said there was a “positive direction of travel” when it came to collecting household food waste.

But he added: “It is going to become more and more difficult to encourage those not currently doing it to do it. We have harvested the easy wins. It is a challenge to policy in England and will cost £15m-£20m a year.”

If the Government was to spend this sum it would require sturdy evidence of the benefits, he said.

“The Treasury works on business cases, and unless you have a benefit:cost ratio of five to eight, it is very hard to get the money,” he said. “It is up to the Government and the industry to work together to work up that [business case].”

Boyd said he expected his long awaited report, From Waste to Resource Productivity, to be published in early 2018. It will focus on unlocking resource productivity through data, responsibility for the cost of waste, influencing customer behaviour and international co-operation.

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