Food waste report gives operators more equipment choice

Mechline has welcomed recommendations from an Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee report into waste management in England.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit says that conclusions drawn from the study are “good news” for catering operators bidding to reduce food waste and avoid landfill charges or separate costly waste collections.

The ‘Waste Management in England’ paper, which was published recently, highlighted the need for government to address the amount of food waste being sent to landfill.

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Officials claim that separate food waste collections can be disproportionately expensive and difficult to implement in practice.

Mechline raised a number of concerns at the consultation stage, which were referenced in the report, including the following paragraph:

“[Mechline Developments Ltd] were particularly concerned about separate food waste collections for onward use as AD feedstock and identified a range of associated risks, including contamination levels; carbon emissions from the consequential higher road traffic; and reducing the incentive to minimise food waste and redistribute edible food.”

The report opens the door to cheaper, alternative methods of waste disposal, including the use of bioremediation systems, which reduce organic waste into grey water that flows safely away down the drain for recycling in the usual way.

Up to now, policy was leaning towards directing organic food waste to anaerobic digestion facilities in separate collections to other waste, which involves operators storing the waste — and paying to have it moved.

But in the report, EFRA agrees with Defra that the greatest benefit of anaerobic digestion is in dealing with waste feedstock, not purpose-grown crops.

With four million tonnes of food waste going to landfill, the recommendation to consider other methods will give operators more choice.

Peter Galliford, director at Mechline, says the company believes remediation — the treatment of waste with the use of micro-organisms (bacteria) — is a viable solution to the problem of safe and eco-friendly food waste disposal offering an attractive and low cost alternative to sending food waste to landfill or an AD plant.

“It doesn’t involve a huge investment and neither does it involve storing smelly waste food until there is enough for collection and then paying for transport costs,” he said.

“What the report’s recommendation means to operators is that they should be given choice as to how to evaluate different options factoring in their own situation and operational demands, to deliver the best environmental and economic outcome. As most observers can testify, no one single system or solution best serves all situations.”

Mechline’s full reaction to the ‘Waste Management in England’ report can be viewed here.

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