An Open Letter to the New Government

Dear Labour Party,

The UK’s general election campaign trail has been full of green promises.

From developing renewable energy sources to reducing people’s energy bills to protecting nature, the political parties have made sure many of their top priorities have sustainability at their core.

However, neither of the main parties has said what they will do to support recycling, particularly their position on food waste recycling and anaerobic digestion (AD). To be clear, this doesn’t even feature in the renewable energy mix being considered by our politicians.

This is surprising given the massive potential that recycling food waste has in reducing carbon emissions, generating clean, renewable base load energy and moving closer to net zero.

We appreciate that there are many green policies that need support, but it is disappointing that food waste recycling is not being given the proper attention it deserves, especially after the previous Government (Conservative) finally introduced the Simpler Recycling scheme and confirmed that all businesses should be collecting food waste by March 2025, with local authorities following a year later.

This is why we are appealing to our MPs and the main party leaders to not leave AD and food waste recycling by the wayside.

AD is the most sustainable way of recycling large amounts of unavoidable food waste. It is estimated that the UK’s AD industry could generate 7.1 billion m3 of biomethane a year, enough to heat 5.5 million homes by 2030.

Local authorities have less than two years to implement collection schemes. For some, this will be straightforward, but for most councils, this will be a challenge. The procurement of new vehicles, bins, and the recruitment of more staff is time-consuming and costly, and many are already facing financial gaps in their budgets. For businesses, the deadline to recycle food waste is much sooner. Despite the cost benefits of recycling food waste, some businesses perceive the investment needed to implement it as an unnecessary burden. This is often not borne out in reality.

The Labour Party and elected MP’s must actively support the implementation of the regulations to implement nationwide separate food waste collections with recycling via anaerobic digestion and offer the AD industry itself this vital support. The sector is currently delivering 19% of our full potential. But with more support, we could have the capacity to deliver 30% of the carbon savings necessary for the UK to meet the country’s targets for 2030, the equivalent emissions saving of taking all of Great Britain’s operating HGVs off the road.

Food waste is an environmental problem, and AD has the power to solve it head-on. We urge the new Government not to forget that.

Lee Dobinson

Helping your food waste journey

If you’re interested in working with an AD processor but not sure where to start, or simply want to learn more about how correct food waste management could support your business’ journey to Net Zero, the team are happy to talk!

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