ADBA calls for massive increase in household food waste collection


The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association has today called for more source-segregated collection of food waste, in a response submitted to the government’s Waste Review. The consultation closes today (7 October).

ADBA are advocating separate collections, where households have a bin reserved for food waste, so that it can be more easily used for anaerobic digestion. The organisation also called on the government to ensure that food waste is prioritised for AD over composting and incineration, due to the extra benefits from energy generation and resource preservation respectively.

The Coalition is committed to a ‘huge increase in energy from waste through Anaerobic Digestion’, but the industry warns that the government will fail to meet this unless the waste is made available for digestion. This will require changes to waste collection, and priority for treatment through AD.

With cuts imminent in October’s Spending Review, many local authorities may be considering shelving schemes to segregate food. ADBA is calling for massive expansion in segregation as although there are short term savings available now, they will lead to much higher costs to the whole community in the medium term, especially if we do not build an infrastructure to deal with organic waste away from landfill.

Processing waste through AD offers a sustainable solution for landfill waste, with the added benefit of preserving crucial finite nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorus. These can be returned to land, which will become critical as the world’s supply of phosphorus diminishes.

The UK’s targets require strong expansion of the green economy. If supported appropriately, anaerobic digestion could meet up to 40% of the UK’s target for renewable heat production by 2020. In addition, according to Carbon Trust estimates, using this could realistically save the UK 3.06 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Commenting, ADBA Chairman Lord Redesdale said:

The government knows it must act now to meet the UK’s responsibilities on climate change.


Committing to AD technology was a good first step, but it must be followed up by the right decisions about how we deal with waste if the industry is to flourish.


We need to collect food waste and prioritise it for AD, so that it can make the maximum possible contribution to targets for renewable energy, climate change, landfill mitigation and preserving resources such as phosphorus.


This review needs to do more than move towards a “zero-waste” economy, it must also ensure we maximise the use of waste as a valuable resource.

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Tags: food waste, local authorities, Redesdale, source segregation, waste review