Local authorities

What AD can do for you

Deliver cheaper services

By introducing segregated food waste collections into your collection scheme, local authorities can reduce the costs of collecting and treating waste, allowing funds to be spent elsewhere. Source segregated collections have also been shown to reduce food waste and divert waste from landfill. In one example, Bexley Council in East London switched from weekly refuse and fortnightly recycling collections to segregated recycling and green waste collections, resulting in a 20% reduction in waste and a saving of over £1m by the second year.

Help meet waste reduction targets

Separate food waste collections have been proven to reduce overall waste levels, helping to meet waste reduction targets and reducing landfill tax. Alongside the carbon benefit of treating food waste through AD, source segregated collections also reduce wet organic contamination of dry recyclable material (such as paper, plastic and glass) allowing better quality – and therefore higher value – products to be created.

Build community goodwill

Separate food waste collections and AD facilities have proven to be popular with local residents: an Icaro study found that households who had a weekly food waste collection awarded the service 7.9/10, while 87% of respondents supported AD as a waste treatment option. A 2011 Friends of the Earth study found that 82% of residents who had a food waste collection supported the service.

Boost local economy

A vibrant AD sector provides long-term jobs in a number of sectors in both rural and urban areas, including construction, farming, transport, waste collection and high-skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs. Unlike some other renewables, AD will continue to keep people directly employed through the lifetime operation of a plant. And if the AD sector reaches its potential, then it’s capable of supporting 35,000 jobs across the UK.

Cut greenhouse gas emissions

Defra identified in their 2011 Review of Waste Policy that there are approximately 16 million tonnes of food waste produced each year, which, if treated by AD, would save well over 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in GHG emissions. This food waste is largely in the control of local authorities, giving you a huge opportunity to contribute to cutting GHG emissions by sending organic waste to AD, while also achieving significant savings by avoiding the rising cost of landfill tax. GHG savings can also be achieved by supporting the use of biomethane vehicles in refuse collection and other council vehicles.

Improve air quality

With Britain facing fines of up to £300million due to air pollution, fines that are likely to be passed to local authorities, tackling air quality through the introduction of biomethane vehicles which have been proven to slash nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions, is a relatively simple solution. On top of this, biomethane is typically the most efficient use of biogas and can be used in existing natural gas engines, especially good for decarbonising HGVs, buses and waste collection vehicles in the transport sector.

Meeting government policy 

Central government has set a clear direction to support the growth of AD, with their 2011 Waste Review stating that ‘of the main options for the treatment of food waste, anaerobic digestion offers the greatest environmental benefit’.  This followed the Coalition Agreement in 2010, which committed to supporting a ‘huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion’.

There are a number of binding targets which government has set, and which AD can play a central role in meeting. Under the Climate Change Act, Britain is committed to an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels) and delivering 15% of energy from renewables by 2020. The UK is also obliged to meet targets to divert waste from landfill and improve air quality, which it is currently struggling to do.


Join ADBA today

Review waste management policy


The biggest contribution that local authorities can make to AD is moving to a source segregated system of waste collection, where cost- and environmentally effective, with organic waste collected separately from the other waste streams and prioritised for AD. Many councils have introduced food waste collections successfully, informing their residents about the benefits, reducing waste, saving money and improving recycling.

To find out how source segregation could benefit your council, join ADBA now and talk to our expert consultants.

Back AD in the planning process

Councils have a vital role to play in supporting the AD industry by giving clear and consistent backing in the planning process, and by outlining in their long-term waste management and renewable energy strategies why AD is the best treatment for organic waste.

Get a copy of The Practical Guide to AD.

Read more . . .

We’ve compiled a range of reports and studies, for further reading on all aspects of how AD could benefit Local Authorities. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about AD, please get in touch.

Do you still have questions about the benefits of AD?

If so, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that can found here