Charity pleads for funding to recycle food waste

A charity that has diverted thousands of tonnes of food waste from landfill has accused the government of unfairly withdrawing its funding under the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme.

Around one quarter of the millions of tonnes of food waste sent to landfill each year is still fit for purpose. Previously funded by the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS), charity FareShare has been intercepting this waste flow for the past decade, taking food that is still fit for human consumption and distributing it among thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the UK.

However, in an attempt to take a more strategic approach to sustainable waste management in order to achieve EU obligations to substantially reduce landfill, Defra has reformed the LTCS in order to create funding for a new strategic public expenditure programme, the Waste Implementation Programme (WIP).

Due to this change, funding under the LTCS for some worthwhile projects has had to be withdrawn.

“Defra has no policy for managing and reducing the 17 million tonnes of waste produced by the food chain each year, and as a result, this massive mountain of waste goes to landfill,” chief executive of FareShare, Tony Lowe stated.

“Despite diverting thousands of tonnes of food from landfill for ten years, FareShare has been deprived of essential funding for work that is both environmentally useful and socially inclusive. We will have to seriously curtail our operations.”

But a spokesperson from Defra told edie that, although funding had been withdrawn under the LTCS, money could still be available for worthwhile projects under different schemes.

“Defra has been in contact with FareShare over their funding concerns and has provided them with details of a number of sources which may be able to help,” she said. “In November, Defra announced details of a £4 million package for the voluntary and community sector to support their vital work in reusing, recycling and composting waste, consisting of a grant fund, regional coordinators in four pilot regions, and a forward looking taskforce.”

“But funding for projects targeting social deprivation is not in the remit of Defra. This falls to other government departments, such as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), and local authorities.”

She added that the government supported diverting food waste away from landfill, but government policy focused on changing the way waste was managed, rather than on any particular sector.

During 2003, FareShare contributed food for over 2.5 million meals, ensuring that over 12,000 vulnerable and homeless people had nutritious meals on a daily basis.

By Jane Kettle

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