REA calls for ‘urgent’ collaboration between food waste industry and local authorities

Increased collaboration and action is needed between the food waste industry and local authorities to boost recycling and food waste capture rates, according to the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC).

A joint statement from the two organisations follows the release of the REA’s independently researched report REA, which insisted that improved management of food waste can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from landfill, support the growing green gas industry, and help the UK hit its legally binding recycling target of 50% by 2020.

REA technical director Jeremy Jacobs said: “Increasing the volume of food waste that is collected separately is critical to meet our legally binding recycling target of 50% by 2020. There is an urgent need for new policy; collaboration and consensus are the strongest tools we have available to achieve it.

“The renewables industry is sensitive to the tight budgetary constraints that most local authorities face and we are open to working with them to deliver workable solutions and innovative funding models.”

‘Extraordinary pressure’

Jacobs’ comments were echoed by the LARAC chair, who said the organisation looked forward to working with both the REA and the Government to find solutions to the UK’s recycling and sustainability needs.

LARAC chair Andrew Bird said: “Local authorities are under extraordinary pressure at the moment and for the foreseeable future, and each faces their own difficult budgetary choices.

“We know that the REA understands this, and we see the point of their report- that there are potential savings to be made with separate food waste treatment compared to residual waste disposal, and this can help offset additional collection costs.”

Zero waste

The new comes in the same week that WRAP Cymru has joined forces with food waste charity FareShare Cymru to hold the first Welsh Surplus Food Summit, which aims to demonstrate how the two organisations work collaboratively to prevent waste and introduce food redistribution. This follows WRAP’s latest research showing that retailers and manufacturers could increase redistribution from 90 million meals across the UK.

Commenting on that partnership, WRAP Cymru head Carl Nichols said: “Food waste is a priority material in the Welsh Government’s Towards Zero Waste strategy because of its environmental impact. But reducing the amount of good food that gets thrown away and redistributing it to the people who need it the most can make a big difference to Welsh communities and families, which is why redistribution is a key element of WRAP Cymru’s Wales Food Waste Prevention Programme”. 

The Summit will detail how redistribution schemes can work successfully, drawing on experience from schemes including Tesco’s work with FareShare FoodCloud, and a WRAP Cymru project to examine redistribution opportunities involving student volunteers from Swansea University.

FareShare Cymru project manager Sarah Germain added: “A great deal of progress has already been made on surplus food redistribution here in Wales. Last year, FareShare Cymru redistributed more than 500 tonnes of surplus food that might otherwise have gone to waste, to frontline charities and community groups in Wales that support hungry and vulnerable people.

“Yet there is the potential to help many more charities, and feed many more people, by working with food businesses to turn an environmental problem into a social solution, with the goal of ensuring that no good food is wasted.”

Richard Swannel at edie’s Resource Revolution conference

WRAP’s Richard Swannel will be speaking about ‘why a national aproach is needed for a resource revolution’ at edie’s upcoming Resource Revolution Conference.

Taking place on 5 July, the edie Resource Revolution Conference provides resource management, sustainability, waste, product, supply chain and design professionals with tools they need to rethink their approach to resource use and waste outputs, drive organisational efficiencies, behaviour change and profitability, and effect a revolution in their company’s sustainability credentials.

Find out more about the Conference and register to attend here

George Ogleby

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