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Anaerobic Digestion industry urges politicians to follow Parliament’s food waste practices

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Source: GPT Waste Management Ltd

In response to a Parliamentary question last month, a representative for the House of Commons Commission, Tom Brake stated “All catering food waste segregated at the kitchens and food preparation areas is recovered offsite by means of anaerobic digestion to produce methane fuel and fertiliser. No catering waste from Parliament is sent to landfill.”

Brake’s statement regarding the House of Commons revealed that the majority of its food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion rather than to landfill and has led to the AD industry calling for a nationwide food segregation plan to urge politicians to promote good practice such as this and to follow suit.

He added: “We are continuing to identify opportunities to reduce the amount of food waste and to increase the proportion we do generate that goes for recovery. A food waste audit to support this is due to take place later this month in the House of Commons.”

While the food waste is managed effectively at the House of Commons, he stated that the uneaten food waste could be managed better and could potentially be donated to food charities. That said, The House of Commons has been rated as a ‘good practice organisation’ by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Energy from waste

In response to the revelations made by the House of Commons, the Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), Charlotte Morton suggested that politicians should roll out similar food segregation procedures throughout the UK.

She commented: “If the UK’s waste strategy followed the example of Parliament and all inedible food waste was diverted from landfill and incineration to AD, then the industry could generate enough additional indigenous green gas to power 750,000 homes.”

She went on to say: “Not only that, but nutrient-rich biofertiliser produced during the AD process improves food production and soil quality, reversing soil degradation trends that are estimated to cost the UK about £1.4 billion each year. AD also has a vital role in decarbonising electricity, heat, farming and transport, potentially reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions by 4%. If segregating food waste for AD is right for Parliament, then surely the same principle should apply for the rest of the UK.”

According to information published by WRAP, the total amount of waste, including food, packaging and other ‘non-food’ waste produced each year by UK Hospitality and Food Service outlets is 2.87 million tonnes. Only 46% of this is recycled, sent to Anaerobic Digestion, or composted. 920,000 tonnes of food is wasted at outlets every year, 75% of this wasted food could have been consumed.

Facts from the information:

  • The amount of food that is wasted each year in the UK is equivalent to 3 billion meals, or one in six of the 8 billion meals served each year.
  • On average 21% of food waste arises from spoilage; 45% from food preparation and 34% from consumer plates.
  • 12% of all food waste is recycled.
  • 3 million tonne of packaging (for food and drink as well as other non-food items used within HaFS) and 0.66 million tonnes of other ‘non-food’ wastes are also discarded, that includes items such as disposable kitchen paper and newspapers.
  • 62% of packaging and other ‘non-food’ waste is recycled. The highest level of recycling is for glass and cardboard.
  • 56% of packaging and other ‘non-food’ waste that is thrown away could have been readily recycled.

GPT provides customers with a sustainable waste management plan and better still, reduced waste disposal costs. The service provided ensures customers have a single point of contact for all waste requirements and a single source of invoicing.

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