The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) hits back at council waste service criticism
The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) has said that a recent report published by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), claiming that local authority food waste collection services were “self-serving”, should not be accepted as fact.
The report published in recent weeks by the REA suggests that food waste collection services provided by councils across England and Wales do not reflect what could really be achieved under the right circumstances.
The report, titled The Real Economic Benefit of Separate Biowaste Collections, said that “greater industry wide collaboration and more engagement with local authorities” is the key to improving biowaste recycling across the country.
According to REA, separate biowaste collections for businesses and residents would save money for both councils and businesses alike.
The LARAC also said that a similar report by Environmental Services Association was ‘peddling the myth’ that council waste services are outdated and no longer fit for purpose. Both reports have caused the LARAC ‘dismay’ at the ill-informed notions expressed by the two associations.
According to LARAC, both associations have had “no engagement with local authorities themselves” and yet they claim to possess the knowledge to advise councils on how to improve biowaste services.
Chair of LARAC, Andrew Bird, commented: “…to call for a fundamental change in how local authorities operate without engaging with us first to see how it could work and what the challenges and possible consequences are is disappointing and a missed opportunity.”
Jeremy Jacobs, a director at Renewable Energy Asssocation defended its report, claiming the aim was to assess “the costs associated with separate biowaste collections for businesses and local authorities” and to “add to the discussion about waste and recycling.”
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New research suggests that reducing food waste would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
A new study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal claims that reducing global food waste and changing consumer behaviour is key to reducing worldwide carbon emissions.
The article, titled ‘Food Surplus and its Climate Burdens’ was produced by a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The study co-writer, professor Jurgen Kropp, said that agriculture and a “meat-rich diet” are two of the major causes of carbon dioxide emissions.
According to the study, the growing global population (expected to reach nine billion by 2050) and the “calorie-rich” diet enjoyed in third-world countries were both resulting in excessive food waste and that this food waste represents 10 per cent of the greenhouse gases produced during agricultural processes.
Professor Kropp and his fellow researchers found that there was a correlation between global greenhouse gas emissions and the increase in “global food requirements from 2,300 to 2,400 [calories per person each day]” and an increase in food waste “from 310 to 510 [calories per person each day]”.
According to the research, during this same time period greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural and food processes rose to an equivalent of 530 million tonnes of CO2 per year from a previous annual production of 130 million tonnes.
The study also discussed future possibilities in relation to the “rapidly increasing” population in “emerging economies like China or India”, which forecasted yet more bad news for food waste and global greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Kropp commented: “Avoiding food loss could pose a leverage to various challenges at once, reducing environmental impacts of agriculture, saving resources used in food production, and enhance local, regional, and global food security.”
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The Cambridgeshire council is now providing free food waste bags to encourage resident recycling
Peterborough City Council is expecting a sharp rise in the amount of food waste being sent for recycling by residents after changing the free food caddy bags from biodegradable to plastic.
The county of Cambridgeshire council said its already noticed a 25 per cent increase in the amount of food waste being sent for recycling. The council hopes that overall food waste recycling will now rise by 90 tonnes per month.
Residents living within the Peterborough City Council boundaries are now being supplied with a roll of 40 new 7-litre high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners, which can themselves be easily recycled. The free plastic sacks are designed to encourage residents to recycle their food waste rather than throw it away with their general household waste.
Amy Nebel, the recycling officer from Peterborough City Council, said the free plastic food waste bags are a cost-effective way of increasing the district’s food waste recycling, as the new sacks are much cheaper that the previous biodegradable bags.
The council hopes to save around £60,000 per year, if residents continue to recycle their food waste at the increased rate. Each roll of HDPE bin liners comes with an order tag, so residents can order more for free when they are running low.
The food waste produced in the Peterborough district is sent to a Biogen AD renewable energy plant, where its is processed to create energy for the national grid and to create agricultural fertiliser.
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Supermarket Sainsbury’s is to phase out “buy one get one free” offers
The British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has announced that it will begin phasing out “buy one get one free” offers in its stores in order to reduce overall prices for its customers and to help households reduce food waste.
Sainsbury’s have said that the BOGOF deals should be completely phased out of their supermarkets by August this year, but their customers will not lose out as overall prices will be lowered. From August, the supermarket will run only seasonal multi-buy deals on a select range of products at specific times of the year.
The decision comes as pressure increases on western supermarkets to take action against global food waste.
As Asda focuses on increasing the public’s desire for ‘wonky’ vegetables and fruit, the Tesco CEO is leading a global food waste campaign, named Champaign 13.2, along with 30 other representatives from businesses, organisations and governments across the world.
The Money Advice Service (MAS) said that special offers and product promotions offered in supermarkets often lead to consumers buying more than they had intended to and more than they needed. Research carried out by MAS suggest that customers spend £11 more than anticipated per each grocery shop.
Sainsbury’s food commercial director, Paul Mills-Hick, has said that the initiative comes as customers are changing the way that they shop for groceries. He said: Customer shopping habits have changed significantly in recent years, with people shopping more frequently – often seeking to buy what they need at that moment in time.”
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The council has saved £20,000 with the help of recycling residents
East Northamptonshire Council has thanked residents for helping to recycle 220 tonnes of food waste in December 2015, saving the council £20,000 in landfill tax.
East Northamptonshire Council launched The Feed Your Caddy Campaign, a Recycle for Northamptonshire project, which residents must sign up to, after which they receive a information pack and a “I’m in to win” sticker which they stick onto their food waste council bin to be one of four household in with a chance of winning a prize every month.
The council initiative has encouraged more households to recycle their food waste using their council food caddies, resulting in the highest amount of food waste sent to be recycled in a single month, rather than to the landfill, since January 2014.
Every council in the UK must pay a standard landfill tax of £82.60 for every tonne of waste that is sent to landfill; this means that the residents in East Northamptonshire helped the council save more than £20,000 in just the month of December.
Local councillors are hoping that the initial success of The Feed Your Caddy Campaign will not dwindle and that East Northamptonshire residents recognise the difference that they are making by simply using their food waste bin.
Steven North, East Northamptonshire council leader, said: “I want to thank our residents for continuing to show their passionate commitment to recycling … We’re counting on your continued support to help ensure that East Northamptonshire’s recycling rate just keeps getting better and better.”
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Food waste charity founder creates beer from unwanted bread
An east London brewery has developed a method for turning old bread into beer, after the beverage’s founder decided he wanted to do his little bit to tackle the issue of global food waste.
Recent figures suggest that the UK wastes 15 million tonnes of food every year; baked goods, and bread especially, have been branded the worst offenders. Tristram Stuart, founder of food waste charity ‘Feedback’, was at the Brussels Beer Project when he first had the inspiration of giving unwanted bread a new lease of life.
An estimated 24 million slices of bread are wasted each year by British households; a spokesperson from Feedback claimed that the unwanted baked produce which is thrown away each year in the UK, could feed 26 million people across the world who are suffering from a severe lack of food.
Now, Tristram Stuart and his team have found a ingenious way of saving some of this bread from the bin and turning it into something delicious. Each bottle of the new, appropriately named, Toast Ale contains one slice of old bread, taken from bakeries, sandwich shops, and delis.
This waste bread is blended into crumbs and then brewed with hops, malted barley and yeast. It goes through the necessary fermentation process until its ready, and then, there it is: a refreshing bottle of environmentally friendly beer.
Tristram Stuart commented: “We hope to put ourselves out of business. The day there’s no waste bread is the day Toast Ale can no longer exist.” The beer reaches shelves on January 28 and is to cost £3 per bottle.
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