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Food Waste and the Climate Emergency

In the last 18 months, many councils and local authorities have declared a climate emergency. When surveyed by the LGA in February 2020, nearly 8/10 councils questioned had experienced an increase in effects of climate emergency, such as flooding in the last five years.

Local Authorities understand the importance of addressing climate change and are looking at ways in which they can tackle environmental key issues within their local communities. For example,

- Increased access to electric vehicle charge points.

- Promoting cycle to work schemes / increased cycling infrastructure.

- Encouraging biodiversity: planting and protection of hedgerows and open spaces.

- Looking at the impact of correct and sustainable waste management.

Waste and the climate emergency are intrinsically linked. With over 6.6 million tonnes of food waste created every year it is incredibly important that everyone has a part to play in turning the tables on the future of our planet.

In addition to making changes to the local, natural environment, local authorities are also looking at tackling food waste and the most economical and sustainable ways of dealing with it.

As we move ever closer to the acceptance and roll out of the Government’s Food Waste Recycling plan, local authorities are coming under closer scrutiny in terms of what they do with food waste and where it goes.

The goal of eliminating all food waste reaching landfill by 2030 is an ambitious one, but one that cannot be underestimated or delivered without the support of the public, local county and district councils and those associated with AD plants and food waste collection services and local businesses.

The implementation of a long-term, bespoke and cost-effective food waste plan can seem daunting and without the right level of support and advice, can take time. Key factors limiting uptake of new environmental initiatives, can be financial and down to lack of workforce or knowledge within those key areas.

What can local authorities do to tackle food waste?

If you’re not working with a food waste collection or disposal partner, then implementing a plan for disposing of your food waste can seem daunting. Establishing a good working relationship between the local disposal infrastructure and the producers will have a significant benefit on the ease of implementing a food waste plan.

We know the importance local authorities place on the following areas: -

1. Reducing operational and disposal costs.

2. Reducing their carbon footprint.

3. Establishing a secure supply chain.

When you work with BioteCH4 we will support you to create a food waste plan tailored to your specific needs, we will help you overcome the practical challenges you may face and celebrate the long term sustainable and environmental achievements you make as an organisation.

There is also lots of practical advice and tips online on how to reduce food waste and the benefits of tracking, reporting and acting on food waste within the local community.

Organisations such as WRAP have a great deal of useful information on their website and some great examples of where local authorities are working with their communities on the reduction, collection and recycling of residential and commercial food waste.

How can recycling food waste can help protect the environment?

When food waste ends up in landfill, even though it will decompose, it contributes to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it biodegrades. The amounts it produces during this process are on a level with the use of cars and fossil fuels.

While the reduction of food waste, at production and distribution points should be addressed, once food makes its way through to waste, the correct disposal of it should be seriously considered. To avoid this increasingly concerning environmental problem, the most sustainable way of recycling food waste is through the process of anaerobic digestion.

Anaerobic digestion is a sustainable process of recycling large amounts of food and animal waste, which is backed by local, national and government regulated bodies. Anaerobic digestion is an environmentally friendly process of creating a renewable form of energy from waste.

How does anaerobic digestion work?

Anaerobic digestion is a complex biological process involving the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of air in large, sealed and insulated vessels with controlled heating and mixing. The cycle of anaerobic digestion produces Biogas, which is captured and used as a fuel in CHP engines or sent through a gas filter and sent directly to the gas grid. You can find out more here.

What are the benefits of AD for local authorities?

- Sustainable: food waste recycling agreement.

- Environmental: reduced carbon footprint.

- Economical: cost-effective and increased revenue from reduced contamination rates.

There are many more benefits to be associated with partnering with an experienced waste recycling company, you can read more about ‘working with local authorities’ on our website.

To understand more about the process and how we can help you overcome the practical challenges you may face, while supporting you in reducing your emissions, operational and existing disposal costs all within a secure and experienced supply chain, get in touch with our team today.

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