Food Waste to be Turned into Raw Materials for Manufacturing & Fuel

The North of England has become one of the most innovative areas in the country as the CPI (Centre for Process Innovation) will take food waste and process it as graphene. Food waste has been recycled by either IVC ( In Vessel Composting ) or AD ( Anaerobic Digestion ) technology for many years but the new process will see biogas that is produced by  anaerobic digestion transformed into renewable hydrogen and graphite carbon.

The PlasCarb project, the organisation behind the technology, are hoping popularise the process, given the need to divert food waste from landfill and the demand for Graphene as a raw material.

Graphene as it is commonly called has already been singled out as one of the western worlds economically raw materials and will assist in the progression of emerging technologies in the future.

Food waste from the catering and hospitality sector at a recycling centre

Food waste from the catering and hospitality sector at a recycling centre

So food waste will form a part of a £8bn per year worldwide market and Graphene which is being billed as a “wonder material ”  because of its strength characteristics and lightness can be used in anything from electrical circuits to tennis rackets.

Hydrogen has already been identified as a transport fuel with a low carbon economy in the future. Economic and employment benefits will result after further analysis of the project throughout Europe.

Commercial Food Waste

Dr Keith Robson, Director of formulation and flexible manufacturing at CPI said, “PlasCarb will provide an innovative solution to the problems associated with food waste, which is one of the biggest challenges that the European Union faces in the strive towards a low carbon economy. “

He added “The project will not only seek to reduce food waste but also use new technological methods to turn it into renewable energy resources which themselves are of economic value,and all within a sustainable manner.”

Three Super Start-Ups Out to Tackle Food Waste

Food waste isn’t a problem with just one solution. Proper handling of food waste after it has spoiled is one way of ensuring it doesn’t end up in a landfill (which is what we do), but bright sparks all over the world are thinking of ways to tackle the issue further up the supply chain.

Today, we’re taking a look at three innovations from driven individuals who are out to make sure food ends up on your plate, not you bin.


Kavita Shukla began experimenting with blends of tea in her kitchen in Boston. Attempting to recreate the recipes of her mother in India, Kavita followed a hunch that the same products that go in to the tea could help keep food at it’s best for longer.

After some exhaustive trial and error, Kavita hit upon the current ingredients that go into FreshPaper, a square paper infused with herbs and spices that keeps food fresh for between 2-4 times longer than traditional packaging.

Originally intended for use in the developing world, Kavita has had great success working with retailers in the US  to keep their stock on the shelves for longer. Retaining that original vision, however, Kavita makes sure that for every sheet sold, another is donated to a food bank or needy cause somewhere in the world.


Fruit going ‘over-ripe’ is a massive issue in the industry, turning gathering fruit into something of a gamble.

FreshTec’s SmartPac takes you average cardboard package, but adds in a uniquely constructed plastic liner. This liner denies the fruit oxygen and traps the CO2 expeled by the fruit when it’s first package.

This essentially suspends the ripening of the fruit, meaning it can be shipped ripe, rather than pre-ripe – allowing the fruit to look it’s best on the shelves and cutting down on food waste.


A camera linked to a countertop scale is the simple, yet effective crux of Leanpath, which documents each portion of food before it enters the bin, giving photographic evidence of any food being wasted, and quantifying it with the scales.

Rather than creating a draconian environment for food-service workers, however, LeanPath turns waste reduction into a sort of competition, using scoreboards that encourage workers to change their practices and allowing managers to analyse the data to understand the underlying causes for waste.

Examples via agfundernews

London Launches Business Food Waste & Recycling Scheme

London Mayor Boris Johnson has kicked off a £1m scheme aiming to help businesses in the capital cut down on food waste.


Called FoodSave, the project is backed by the Greater London Authority, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and the European Regional Development Fund, and will work hand-in-hand with over 240 small and medium sized businesses across the City.

Foodsave was officially launched earlier this week and will engage with the businesses in it’s remit for around 18 months.

Costing £1m, the scheme aims to provide a £360,000 total saving for all the businesses involved per year, and get more businesses on board with the same standard of food recycling that is currently being pushed out to so many households in London.

Furthermore, the environmental impact is expected to be considerable, with potential for around 1,000 tonnes of food waste to be diverted from landfill.

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor’s senior adviser on environment said: “FoodSave is a brilliant initiative that can help businesses reduce their food waste disposal costs and become more efficient. I encourage as many businesses as possible to get involved and both save money and help the environment.”

The European Regional Development Fund is providing £500,000 for the project, while the Mayor of London has committed £370,000 and the remaining £130,000 is coming from LWARB.

Restaurants, hotels, pubs, etc. will get a minimum of 12 hours support from the Sustainable Restaurants Association, identifying and taking advantage of opportunities to cut down on food waste as well as handling proper food recycling.

Otherwise, Sustain will offer practical advice on waste management to food retailers, caterers and more.


The launch of the scheme comes just a few weeks after the publication of the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)’s food waste report estimates that around four million tonnes of food waste a year comes from comes from food service, restaurants and manufacturing.

London Residents Can save ‘up to £79m’ with Proper Food Recycling

A new campaign to help West London homes cut down on food waste has launched, with the message that London homes could save a combined total of £79m with proper food waste management.

London Food Waste Recycling

A Love Food Hate Waste campaign – the likes of which we’ve seen rolled out country wide over the cast year or so – ran a six-month trial period in London homes, that showed following their guidelines could cut food waste by 14%.

WRAP has scaled that up to a London-sized populace and says that the reduced waste management costs of handling 29,400 tonnes less waste than the current amount would save residents a total of £79m.

WRAP also pointed out that at the time of the six-month Love Food Hate Waste survey, West London’s disposal charge sat at £93 per tonne – a cost that has since risen to £106.50. With costs that high, it’s little wonder the council has given the initiative a strong backing.

WRAP’s director of sustainable food systems Dr Richard Swannell said: “The Local Government Association (LGA) has identified waste disposal as one of the most costly areas for local authorities. Our work highlights one way these can be reduced cost effectively – a short term investment can deliver short term and potentially long term gain, both financially and environmentally.

He added: “And it’s not just local authorities who can help consumers reduce their food waste and reap the benefits. Retailers and brands have a role to play, particularly through the Courtauld Commitment and by utilising WRAP’s technical guidance, to help consumers make the best use of the food they buy.”

Have Your Say – Europe Launches Public Food Waste Consultation

A public consultation has been launched by the European Commission in a bid to cut down on food waste across the continent.

EU Environment Commissioner calls for a Food Waste Management Revolution

Entitled ‘Sustainability of the Food System’, the European Commission hopes to gather views and insight into food production and consumption by people living in European Union member states.

Running from July 9th  to October 1st, the Commission is welcoming views from citizens, public authorities and business throughout the period, hoping to tackle some of the 89 million tonnes of food that is sent to landfill every year.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “This is morally and economically unacceptable and is all the more horrific when you consider the true scale of the resources required to produce those 89 million tons. We are also wasting all those resources. There’s something wrong with the system.”

Potočnik went on to raise concerns that the amount of food waste in the EU could rise to 126 million tonnes a year by 2020 unless action is taken swiftly.

Yorkshire Food Waste Site Faces Hefty Fine

A troubled household and food waste management site in Yorkshire could face further woe as the government has threatened the local authority that runs it with a large fine

Food waste at landfill

The Allerton park household waste management site near the A1 is due to have a new incinerator built as part of it’s services, however staunch opposition from local residents have local authorities thinking twice about the development.

A joint venture by the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and the City of York council has already racked up a bill of £6.5m so far in development costs, and both councils are now facing further financial penalty from the government if they don’t begin to build the incinerator at the heart of the Allerton Park facility.

“The project has so far cost North Yorkshire and City of York councils in excess of £6.5m to progress and there is a contractor liability risk to the Authorities in exiting from the procurement.” said a government spokesperson.

That wouldn’t be the end of the financial implications for the authorities either; should plans not go ahead as intended, both councils would need to find alternative recycling for the matter that would have been incinerated – which include food waste – or risk shelling out for landfill tax.

Despite the hesitation of the councils, the move to threaten the two local authorities has come as a surprise to those closest to the project, “We had been working closely with DEFRA for over seven years so we are very disappointed and surprised by the situation we find ourselves in.” , said David Bowe, NYCC’s Corporate Director of Business and Economic Services .

“We are now reviewing all aspects of the project…to ensure it is the most cost effective and sustainable long term solution for the management of our residual household waste, and that it remains affordable and value for money.

Sainsbury’s Tackle Domestic Food Recycling With New Campaign

Sainsbury’s supermarkets have launched a new campaign today aimed at encouraging customers to pay more attention to the food waste they generate each week, and cut down on what they do throw away.

Sainsbury's launch food recycling campaign: "make your roast go further"

Rather than focusing on a more generalised campaign, Sainsbury’s have taken the innovative approach on just focusing on a single meal – and what else could it be, but the quintessential British roast?

Titled ‘Make your Roast go Further’ the campaign has launched with the backing of our friends at the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Sainsbury’s say their research has shown that  roast dinners contribute a huge portion to a British family’s weekly food waste, and focusing their campaign on a single meal would be a good first step to establishing good habits when it comes to food recycling.

As a first step, customers in store will be offered meal-planners and recipe cards for left-overs to make the most of edible food before it’s expiry date, and print and television commercials will also be rolled out in support of the initiative.

Susi Richards, head of food at Sainsbury’s, said: “Our research shows that the Sunday roast is a significant contributor to overall food waste in UK households and this is why we have made it central to our new Food Goes Further campaign. We want to help our customers Live Well for Less at the same time as educating them on the issues of waste.

 “If each of the 22 million customers who pass through our stores each week thinks differently about their Sunday roast leftovers, then we would see less food in the bin and more money in our pockets.  We have provided a series of easy to follow recipes for leftovers, meal planners and tips to help our customers be more efficient with food.”

Waste Recycled Surpasses Amount to Landfill for First Time In England

A report released by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced that, for the first time since records on waste have been kept, England’s councils and local authorities recycled, reused and composted more than was sent to landfilled.

A DEFRA report announces that recycling, reusing and composting has surpassed waste landfill for the first time on record

The recycling figure, of which food waste is a huge portion, and marking a reduction of waste sent to landfill of over 50% in the last twelve years.

Recorded from April 2011 to March 2012, 9.6m tonnes of waste was sent to landfill – but stack that up against the 22.4m that was landfilled in 2001/2 it marks a huge step forward for England in a little over a decade, and represents a big change in food waste management from businesses, households and local authorities.

Whilst the news that 10.7m tonnes of household waste was properly recycled in England will be of huge significance to the UK government, it is tinged with some bad news.

The 2011/12 figures mark the lowest year-on-year increase – just 1.5% over 2010/11’s total – in over a decade. When dealing with commercial waste that scales in the tens of millions of tonnes bracket, even a 1% increase can mean a huge difference in terms of visible results, and DEFRA says this is something of a crossroads for local authorities.

DEFRA suggested that this was the end of the beginning for  proper waste management in England, and that local authorities will face more challenges moving forward.

At the end of their report, DEFRA suggested that councils ‘have by now exploited the easiest targets in terms of recycling, and are increasingly facing challenges in influencing behaviour change and identifying new areas and efficiencies in the waste services they provide’ – and remain confident that authorities are well equipped to take on the challenge.

Wales Hits 53% Food Recycling Rate

Separate food waste collections in Wales have set the country on target to reach it’s first statutory target in a new food waste management policy – recycling 53% of all food leftovers collected.

The Welsh Environment Agency has outlined a a set of targets that local authorities should reach, in order to help the entire country reach a 70% food recycling rate by 2025.

Well on track, the target for 2012-13 has already been surpassed as end-of-year reports put Wales at a steady 53% recycling rate of all collected food waste collected – a 2% rise over last year’s fissures.

In a report by the Welsh Environment Agency, 7 local authorities were singled out for praise, as they over-achieved on their targets: Denbighshire (60.5%), Caerphilly (59.9%), Monmouthshire (58.1%), Vale of Glamorgan (57.8%), Flintshire (57.7%) and Conwy (57.5%).

As London has only just welcomed it’s first anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, Wales still stands as the only country in the UK in which all local councils operate a separate food waste management programme. Additionally, Wales also operates a Landfill Allowances scheme putting them ahead of the curve on the EU Landfill Directive.

“This achievement is largely the result of every local authority in Wales providing a weekly food collection service and householders embracing the system so enthusiastically,” said Welsh environment minister, John Griffiths.

“Separating out food waste not only diverts significant waste away from landfill, it also makes us far more aware of the food we are wasting, which can often result in reduced waste and lower food bills,” he added.

Minister Griffiths was keen to emphasise that Wales as a united country must keep this momentum, as the self-imposed 70% recycling by 2025 and zero waste targets are indeed ‘challenging’.

Whilst challenging, we’d have to applaud John Griffiths and the Welsh government as a whole for – not only striking for such lofty goals – but setting a great early pace on achieving them.

Ground Broken on Wales’ First Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Construction has officially begun on the first anaerobic digestion facility in Wales, after Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths cut the turf at Llwyn Isaf, near Caernarfon.

anaerobic digestion food waste recycling diagram

A £5 million investment by the Welsh government, once at full operational capability the Llwyn Isaf plant – officially called Prosiect GwyriAD – will be able to process 11,000 tonnes of commercial food waste every year as well as produce enough electricity to power around 700 households and businesses.

Expected to open mid-2013, the plant will be operated by a private company specialising in anaerobic digestion processing, whilst feedstock will be supplied by Gwynedd council’s private homes and from new commercial waste management schemes being put in place by local businesses.

Commenting on the facility, Mr Griffiths said: “I am pleased to visit Llwyn Isaf to mark the start of construction of Prosiect GwyriAD – Wales’ first anaerobic digestion facility to treat local authority food waste… Our investment in green technologies also delivers long-term economic benefits for the people of Wales. Prosiect GwyriAD will bring local jobs and opportunities to the area – not only during construction, but through permanent employment once the facility begins operating next year.”

The news comes in a bumper week for good recycling news in Wales, as Minister Griffiths also announced the Environment Agency Wales, Countryside Council for Wales and Forestry Commission Wales will now become a single body; Natural Resources Wales

Set to take over from the current hierarchy in April 2013, Natural Resources Wales will handle proper management of all the country’s ‘green’ issues – from parks to business waste.

Speaking of the merger, Griffiths said: “Today’s announcement means we are another step closer to establishing a new body that will be crucial to a sustainable future for the people, environment and economy of Wales. Not only will the new body result in a more streamlined way of working for the benefit of its customers, it will also ensure more effective delivery, improved value for money and better outcomes for the people of Wales.”

Environment Commissionner: “EU Needs a Food Waste Management Revolution”

Environment Commissioner for the European Union Janez Potočnik says there must be food waste management ‘revolution’ as the waste produced by the continent is ‘horrific’.

EU Environment Commissioner calls for a Food Waste Management Revolution

Potočnik, speaking at the Retail Forum for Sustainability 2012, called for a ‘revolution’, particularly amongst retailers and other commercial entities to address the way the waste they produce is dealt with.

Food recycling was the key focus of Potočnik’s address, announcing there is “no place for food waste in a resource constrained world” .

Whilst there has been a global focus on getting householders and the general public to handle their waste correctly, the commissioner’s speech laid responsibility at the door of commercial waste management companies, restaurants, hotels and more – highlighting the retail stage as being one of the two most wasteful sections of the food supply chain.

Seemingly unafraid of being accused of shortcomings in his own jurisdiction, Potočnik said ‘most’ of food waste was produced in the EU and North America. Potočnik also revealed that Europe alone is responsible for 89m tonnes of food waste.

“This waste is all the more horrific when you consider the true scale of the resources required to produce those 89 million tons,” he said. “We are talking about fuel and mining activity to make fertiliser, transport, refrigeration, packaging, toxic emissions to air and water, and the use of many other natural resources. Think of this, it takes between five and 10 tonnes of water to produce just one kilogram of beef.”

“And the story does not even stop there. We actually still bury or burn a lot of that waste. Relatively little is composted.”

“That’s millions and millions of tonnes of perfectly good, delicious, precious food, burned or sent to landfill just because two words are slightly misleading,” he said. “Surely together we can do something about that?”

The commissioner rounded off his address urging the Union’s largest food providers to take full responsibility of their supply chain and taking up arms in the battle against food waste. Potočnik highlighted developing food banks and increasing food recovery campaigns, as initiatives that larger businesses could look into to improve their commercial food waste management process.

Bath Leads UK Food Waste Figures

Bath & North East Somerset have shown massive improvements in food waste recycling since the launch of several new initiatives over the last two years, according to new figures.

Bath Food Recycling figures

Since making food waste management a priority in October 2010, Bath & North East Somerset Council have announced the region is now setting a new pace for proper organic waste management that residents and businesses across the region can be proud of.

Whilst other regions are only just introducing the concept of food waste receptacles to the public – such as Nuneaton, as we reported last week – Bath residents have had time to warm to the scheme over the past 18-24 months. Whilst the extra work of sorting food waste was likely an unattractive one at first, residents soon found a number of benefits to just sticking it all in the same bin bag.

Cost to the taxpayer has been significantly reduced as the council have been able to cut costly landfill tax charges, cut carbon emissions, and make the streets cleaner by avoiding leftovers being ripped out of a ‘standard’ bin bag sacks by animals such as foxes.

Ten Thousand Tonnes

Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said, “It is excellent news that so many households are taking advantage of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s weekly food waste recycling service. Reaching the ten thousand tonne barrier by the end of the year would be a terrific community achievement.

“People tell us that they are pleased with the service being so easy and convenient, mainly using compostable liners for things like fruit, bread, and peelings although all food can be put out for collection, including bones.

“We need to continue to hammer the message home about how important it is for people to take part because more than a third of the content of the average bin is food waste that we could recycle. Our monitoring tells us that half of households recycle their food waste, which leaves the other half who need more convincing. The Council will be taking more steps to do this through our regular recycling road shows, targeted work in local communities, and reminding people through on-going campaigning.”

Bath’s Food Recycling by Numbers

4,296 – tonnes recycled in the first full year of food waste management collections;

10,600+ – tonnes predicted to be recycled by the end of this financial year since October 2010;

52% – proportion of households we estimate using the service in November 2011. More monitoring will take place this November;

820 – people who have filled in our food waste feedback surveys at Council road shows, received food waste advice, and ordered containers if needed;

35% – the amount of waste in an average household bin which is food waste and could potentially go to landfill if not recycled.

Seagulls: The Unlikely Casualties in the War Against Food Waste

For anyone that’s ever taken a walk down on of the Britain’s many beachfronts or driven past a playing field during the winter, you’d think that if there was one bird safe from the endangered species list, it’s the seagull.

Seagulls looking for food waste at a landfill site

Not so, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) – as a new report says that the RSPB have seen the population of herring gulls more than halved over the last 40 years – officially giving them the title of ‘endangered species’.

Naturally (though that might be something of a misnomer) a scavenger according to the RSPB, herring gulls have suffered due to a downturn in the fishing industry and tighter EU regulations on ‘discards’ depriving them of a source of food.

The other big factor is, as winter rolls in and seagulls move inland to feed, a fall in discarded food waste and an increase in food recycling is further restricting their food sources.

As huge food chains like McDonald’s, Greggs bakeries and Domino’s Pizza join Marks & Spencer in aiming towards a zero-waste to landfill business model, seagulls are finding that once food-rich dumping grounds are becoming scarce.

Processes like anaerobic digestion and dry fermentation are also proving troublesome for the gulls, as food must be ‘harvested’ from commercial and private waste sites quickly in order to maximise efficiency – meaning food isn’t even in bins as long as it used to be.

Whilst all of this is a testament to a huge increase in food recycling and proper waste management, it’s a shame to think that something we consider to be the greater good can have such a huge adverse effect on a whole species.

Calls for America to Go on Food Waste Diet

Shocking figures from the New York-based non-profit the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) have revealed the Americans waste as much as 40% of the the food that makes it to their plates, according to a new study.

Vegetables - Food Waste Diet

Despite innovate campaigns to increase awareness of the global problem of food waste management, the NRDC says the study reflects poorly on America dropping behind the curve on sustainability.

The report also moved beyond the high percentage, slapping a $165 billion per-year price tag on all that food waste and revealing the average American family throws out around $2,275 in food every year.

“As a country, we’re essentially tossing every other piece of food that crosses our path–that’s money and precious resources down the drain,” says Dana Gunders, NRDC project scientist with the food and agriculture program. “With the price of food continuing to grow, and drought jeopardizing farmers nationwide, now is the time to embrace all the tremendous untapped opportunities to get more out of our food system.”

Gunders also went on to outline some possible solutions to the problem, including clarifying the date labels of food and setting national and regional goals for cutting down on food waste and recycling properly . Similar schemes in Europe have been met with resounding success – including a supermarket-wide crackdown on clarifying ‘Use By’ and ‘Sell By’ dates on food packaging.

It’s not all doom and gloom in the USA on the food recycling front, though as two encouraging newsflashes have shown. First, the the Stop and Shop grocery chain announced they are already saving an estimated $100 million annually simply by addressing freshness in its perishables department.

Additionally, a Houston-based firm revealed that they have raised over $75m in funding for a project that will convert the sugars in waste food into sustainable food.

England Reaches 42.9% Recycling Rate, Huge Drop in Waste to Landfill

The 2011 calendar year has turned into something of a landmark for recycling in England as Defra announced that the household waste recycling reached 42.9% the amount of waste sent to landfill fell by 15%.

Food waste at landfill

Defra’s report – which covers the third quarter of the 2011/12 financial year – shows that 41.4% of household waste was sent for reuse, with food recycling accounting for a strong portion of the growth, with a much food waste being sent for composting rather than landfill.

Combining this report with previous Defra figures for the other three quarters shows a 42.9% recycling rate – up a healthy 2.9% from the 2010 figures.

The same report also boasts a 15% fall in the amount of waste collected by local authorise being sent to landfill sites. When compared to the same quarter in 2010, the quantity of waste has dropped from 2,554 tonnes to 2,165 – a figure bolstered by a 11% drop across the calendar year, too.

Commenting on the figures, Defra said the fall in waste to landfill was ‘good news’ but that there was still work to do to achieve the goal of zero waste.

A Defra spokesperson said: “The amount of waste sent to rot in landfill continues to fall and more household waste is being recycled. The 15 per cent drop in the amount of waste sent to landfill is very good news but there is no room for complacency and we will continue to push for further reductions to achieve our aim of a zero waste economy.”

As well as food waste management, Defra’s report looks at both household waste as well as waste collected by local councils.

Household waste is defined as all waste arising from households – including;

– Waste from kerbside collections
– Civic amenity sites, e.g. Libraries, Leisure Centres

Local authority collected waste is all waste collected by councils, which includes household waste as well as:

– Commercial Waste
– Industrial Waste
– Construction and demolition waste
– Food waste from parks and other authority-run attractions

Government Urged to Ban Food Waste from Landfills

Thinktank CentreForum have urged the UK government to ban Food Waste from landfills, this week.

Food waste at landfill

The UK coalition government has been advised that banning food waste from landfills would boost the progression of developing technology to turn it into an eco-friendly power source.

CentreForum suggested that local councils should be given financial support to help them bring in separate food waste collections for households and businesses to ensure a steady supply of organic waste for anaerobic digestion, a renewable power source.

If implemented by the end of the decade, the amount of food waste digested could generate enough biogas to power to power more than 2.5m UK, if projections are accurate.

The report was particularly critical of the barriers preventing anaerobic digestion from producing energy to more than 300,000 homes (the current level of biogas being produced), and said that councils attempting to start an anaerobic digestion scheme going was like “trying to win a cycle race with the brakes on,”.

Currently, anaerobic digestion plants use micro-organisms to break down organic material without oxygen to create biogas that can be burned to produce renewable energy or injected directly into the gas grid.

But the study said the schemes often struggle to secure long-term contracts to ensure supplies of the feedstock such as food waste.

The report revealed that a paltry 13% of homes in England had separate food waste collections, compared with 82% of households in Wales.

Logistically, banning food waste from landfills would force councils into separate food waste collections, something that will likely be costly and unpopular.

Though such a move may well prove necessary, as projections indicate the UK will run out of new landfill sites by 2020.

CentreForum’s advise is that the government should take the sting out of the original investment by providing additional funding to councils which install anaerobic digestion plants.

Alternatively, they should be able to access funding, which could be raised from planned increases in the taxes put on sending rubbish to landfill, through schemes similar to the current £250m government programme aimed at encouraging a return to weekly bin collections.

London 2012: The First Sustainable Games in History

The London 2012 Olympic Games will mark the beginning of a new era, the era of sustainable Games. London was the first summer Host City to embed sustainability in its planning from the start and if everything goes according to plan London 2012 will be the first zero waste Olympic Games in history.

To achieve that the LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) which was the first Games Organising Committee to be certified to the  British Standard 8901: Specification for a Sustainability Management Systems for Events, developed the London 2012 Sustainability Plan: Towards a One Planet 2012 and to ensure all promises are kept an independent body, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, has been set up to monitor us and report back to the public.

The Sustainability Plan focuses on five key themes:

1. Climate change: minimising greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring legacy facilities are able to cope with the impacts of climate change.

2. Waste: minimising waste at every stage of the project, ensuring no waste is sent to landfill during Games-time, and encouraging the development of new waste processing infrastructure in East London.

3. Biodiversity: minimising the impact of the Games on wildlife and their habitats in and around Games venues, leaving a legacy of enhanced habitats where we can, e.g. the Olympic Park.

4. Inclusion: Promoting access for all and celebrating the diversity of London and the UK, creating new employment, training and business opportunities.

5. Healthy living: Inspiring people across the country to take up sport and develop active, healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

According to LOCOG’s corporate sustainability manager Phil Cumming, there will be three main waste streams to be collected during the Olympic Games: compostables, dry recycling and residual waste.

What interests us is compostables, in other words, food waste. According to WRAP’s predictions 40% of the catering waste expected to arise at the games will be food and all this waste will be recycled through composting.

Another important factor will be the use of compostable packaging. Mr Cumming said that compostable packaging will be used on a scale never seen before in the UK.

In an interview to corporate sustainability manager said:

“We have come up with an approach which has not been attempted at this scale. It might not work but we are setting out what we want to do and people will learn from that in the future. Pursuing compostables is potentially controversial but there is a growing concession that it has to be in place. Given that it comes higher than energy recovery in the waste hierarchy it has to play a role.”

The official Olympic Games waste contractor is SITA UK; the company will be responsible for all the compostables and residual waste streams. While Coca Cola has comprised itself for dealing with all the dry recyclables which will be mainly PET bottles provided by the soft drinks giant and official sponsor of the Games.

Despite the fact that many subcontractors have not been appointed yet, SITA’s director Marek Gordon is very optimistic and he expects that the 70% recycling mark will be surpassed.

For further information we recommend you read Sustainability Guidelines for Events.

Pickles’ £250m Fund to Accept Organic and Food Waste

Eric Pickles’ £250 million Weekly Collection Support Scheme will now accept organic and food waste. The announcement was made last Friday (February 3) by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

food waste

Back in September 2010, Conservative MP for Brentwood and Ongar, Eric Pickles, unveiled the plans of a scheme to support councils who wish to introduce, retain or reinstate weekly collections of residual household waste. At that time organic and food waste were not qualified for collections. Which meant householders would still have to hold on to their food waste for up to two weeks.

Last Friday as Mr Pickles announced that the scheme is now open for application he also stated that weekly food or organic waste collections will qualify for support.

The Conservative MP said: “This scheme will literally help stop the rot. Over the last decade, we have witnessed a massive decline in the number of households getting weekly collections and an increase in people having to store food waste and nappies for up to two weeks.

“It signals that a shift in the approach and attitude towards rubbish and recycling collections can happen. This new approach puts the householders, the environment and value for money at the forefront of how councils should think about a weekly waste collection”.

The £250 million fund will be made available to local authorities over three years; £50 million in 2012/13, £100 million in 2013/14 and £100 million in 2014/15. Any local authority can lead a bid and there are no limits to how much funding an authority can bid for.

The scheme will also accept bids from consortiums constituted of businesses and third parties. Bids from groups of local authorities will be accepted too.

Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “We want to help people to go green by making it easier for them to do the right thing. This scheme will encourage councils to provide the services we believe residents really want, without sacrificing the environment.”

Detailed information on the scheme can be found at: Supporting Weekly Collections Prospectus.

The initiative behind this scheme should help councils increase the frequency of waste collections and residents will see that their tax money is being well spent.

But after the food waste is collected it’s when another problem emerges. What to do with it?

With landfill tax, set to reach £64 per tonne in April, reaching sky high levels and costing councils millions of pounds each year. Local authorities must also have food waste management and recycling plans in place. Hence Wrap’s £10m fund for food waste processing.

Commercial food waste recycling bins to be heated ?

Food waste bins at 7am in the morning covered in snow

Eco Food Recycling collecting commercial food waste.

When the country is gripped in sub zero temperatures nobody thinks of the “poor old bin man ” who has to go out in all weather conditions.

Although extreme weather causes problems for all refuse collectors it is the companies that have commercial food waste collections that face the biggest problems.

A lot of pubs and hotels who have food waste collections to improve their recycling figures along with adding to their CSR ( corporate social responsibility ) put the food waste into the bins “naked”, meaning that no bags are used.

In the warmer weather this is fine but in the current climate this causes major problems when attempting to empty commercial food waste bins:

  • Food waste is very heavy
  • Food waste is predominantly water
  • Food waste bins are generally left outside, to the elements
  • Frozen food waste does not easily come out of the bin when emptied into the refuse cart
  • The weight of the food waste puts extreme pressure on the bin when lifted, if it does not exit the bin because it is frozen and can be potentially dangerous causing the bin to break

Of course the answer is heated food waste bins to keep the temperature of the food waste at a level to stop it freezing.

Although this will never happen it does prove that there is a problem and it is the poor old bin man who is left to clear up the rubbish,yet again.






Food waste collections and The Waste Hierachy

Food waste from the catering and hospitality sector

For many commercial food waste collection carriers getting new customers has been a problem when the price charged for a 240 ltr food waste bin does not compare to the  price for an 1100 ltr general waste bin.

Until legislation is brought in then the waste producer will obviously choose the cheapest option until forced to do so.This is a problem that many food waste carriers have faced, until recently.

The drivers in food producers having their commercial food waste collected are:

  • To improve their CSR ( corporate social responsibility ) This is generally from the larger companies who need to show to their customers, staff and shareholders that they are doing everything to help the environment are morally bound to recycle their food waste.
  • To divert their food waste from landfill and aim to have a zero waste to landfill solution. This has been adopted by many blue chip companies including M & S.
  • Rising annual landfill tax is forcing many businesses to recycle their food waste as at least a cost neutral excerscise if not actually saving money in the first year.
  • Complying with their declaration as regards the Waste Hierarchy.

It is this last point that has been missed by many carriers when tendering for new food waste business or looking to retain their current customers. Below is taken straight from the DEFRA website:


Waste Hierarchy

Many businesses are unaware of how significantly waste impacts on their bottom line. As the demand for materials grows worldwide, raising input costs, it makes sense for businesses to adopt the waste hierarchy.

Article 4 of the revised EU Waste Framework Directive sets out five steps for dealing with waste, ranked according to environmental impact – the ‘waste hierarchy’.

Prevention, which offers the best outcomes for the environment, is at the top of the priority order, followed by preparing for re-use, recycling, other recovery and disposal, in descending order of environmental preference.

Stages Include
Prevention: Using less material in design and manufacture. Keeping products for longer; re-use. Using less hazardous materials
Preparing for re-use: Checking, cleaning, repairing, refurbishing, whole items or spare parts
Recycling: Turning waste into a new substance or product. Includes composting if it meets quality protocols
Other recovery: Includes anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery, gasification and pyrolysis which produce energy (fuels, heat and power) and materials from waste; some backfilling
Disposal: Landfill and incineration without energy recovery

The waste hierarchy has been transposed into UK law through the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011. The Regulations came into force on 29 March 2011. The provisions relating to the hierarchy (set out at in Regulations 12, 15 and 35) will come into force on 28 September 2011.

What you need to do

If your business or organisation (including local authorities on behalf of householders) produces or handles waste (this includes importing, producing, carrying, keeping or treating waste; dealers or brokers who have control of waste, and anyone responsible for the transfer of waste), you must take all such measures as are reasonable in the circumstances to:

  • prevent waste, and
  • apply the waste hierarchy when you transfer waste.

Basically this means that producers of food waste have no alternative in recycling their food waste ( if they have the option to do so ) as opposed to sending it to landfill.

This point has not been overlooked by Eco Food Recycling, the southern based food waste carrier and broker, who offer a national food waste collection service with a zero waste to landfill ethos. They have increased there customer base in very difficult economic times and have provided a service that is wanted and required by the introduction of the Waste Hierarchy.