The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association has said the issue of food waste needs to be tackled urgently after it emerged that the amount produced by the House of Commons has doubled to nearly 300 tons in the past three years.
Senior MPs have described the volume of waste from parliamentary caterers as “staggering” and demanded action, with Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on food waste, saying it was “disappointing” that the increase was not considered particularly problematic because the food waste is sent to anaerobic digestion.
“Even though it is more environmentally preferable to send it to AD ahead of landfill and incineration, it is nonetheless still wasted,” she told the Express last month. “AD should ideally be used for food waste that couldn’t otherwise be prevented or re-used, such as egg shells and banana skins, with the primary focus on prevention and overseeing a decline in waste.”
Her views have been endorsed by the ADBA, which said that the UK food waste recycling industry is “in complete agreement” with Mrs McCarthy that the food waste hierarchy should be followed wherever possible.
Chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “Food waste should be prevented first and foremost, with any edible food waste redistributed to people or animals where it is safe to do so. Inedible food waste should be sent to anaerobic digestion to allow it to be recycled into renewable heat and power, clean transport fuel, and nutrient-rich biofertiliser, which are vital to helping the UK reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and restore our degraded soils.”
Mrs Morton suggested the most effective way to boost recycling of inedible food waste would be for ministers to support councils to introduce a separate food waste collection.
“As well as providing a way for households and businesses to recycle their inedible food waste into valuable resources, separate collections would also help to reduce food waste levels through making householders and businesses more aware of how much food they are wasting. Separate food waste collections are also critical to the government achieving its own target of diverting all food waste from landfill by 2030,” she said.