Food: Waste Disposal

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 2nd June 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support local authorities undertaking food waste collections.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We want to make recycling easier and ensure that there is a comprehensive, consistent service across England. This will help to reduce confusion with recycling, ensure that there is more recycled material in the products we buy and that the UK recycling industry grows. It would also constitute a significant step towards meeting our 25 Year Environment Plan commitment to eliminate avoidable waste by 2050 and contribute towards meeting recycling targets, including our commitment of 65% of municipal (household-like) waste to be recycled by 2035.

Following support at public consultation, the Environment Bill stipulates that all local authorities in England must make arrangements for a core set of materials to be collected for recycling from households. This includes a weekly separate food waste collection. On 7 May we published a second consultation seeking further views on recycling consistency, including setting out implementation timelines for food waste collection and asking questions on the provision of caddy liners to householders. Local authorities will be able to decide the end destination for food waste and garden waste, provided that the material is recycled or composted. One option is anaerobic digestion which presents the best environmental outcome for the treatment of unavoidable food waste, due to the generation of biofuel and digestate.

Any new financial burdens introduced through new statutory duties on local authorities will be assessed and the net additional cost covered by the Government. We are working to assess net additional costs to local authorities and will continue to engage with local authorities on the cost estimates that we have provided in the impact assessment accompanying the second consultation on recycling consistency, as well as the appropriate timing for funding to be provided to local authorities, ahead of introduction of recycling consistency reforms.

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