Councils bin 90 per cent of food waste which could be recycled to power homes
Updated: Jul 26, 2019
Just 1.3 million tonnes of food waste is currently processed in anaerobic digestion facilities, around 10 per cent of the total
Councils are throwing away 90 per cent of food waste which could be used to power homes if recycled properly, figures show.
Britons bin 10.2 million tonnes of food each year, creating more than 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases - the equivalent of 3.5 million cars annually, the consumer group Which? found.
Yet only half of councils - serving 35 per cent of households - provide a separate bin for food waste. Most ends up in general black bins and goes to landfill.
Harry Rose, Which? Magazine Editor, said:
"More than 10 million tonnes of food is wasted each year, contributing to harmful greenhouse gas emissions - and while recycling food waste could help to eliminate emissions and power more homes, only half of councils in England offer food waste collection services.
"Households are responsible for the majority of food waste, so councils must do more to implement consistent recycling services and improve participation, especially in England."
Food can be recycled either by anaerobic digestion and composting. Where food is collected in a separate bin, it is recycled using anaerobic digestion, put into a tank without oxygen and and broken down by micro-organisms.
As the waste breaks down it produces a biogas, it is collected and used to generate electricity. 1.3 million tonnes is currently processed in anaerobic digestion facilities, which harvest the biogas from decaying food, creating enough electricity to power 200,000 homes a year.
“The mountain of food waste thrown away in the UK every year is a national disgrace.This is a tragic waste of resources, squandering huge quantities of fresh water, land and labour – and is a major cause of climate-wrecking pollution.
Food waste reduction must be the priority – with government and the food industry taking more ambitious action.
Ministers should commit to reducing this waste by 50 per cent by 2030. Food that cannot be eaten should go to animal feed where possible, with the rest composted, or used to create fuel through anaerobic digestion.”
Clare Oxborrow of Friends of the Earth
the majority of food waste in the UK comes from households with 7.1 million tonnes thrown away annually by families.
five million tonnes is still edible when binned, equating to £145 billion in wasted food each year, the equivalent of £840 for a family of four.
17 per cent of the food people buy is thrown away.
What can you do ?
Experts recommend that families cut food waste by writing weekly meal plans, and learning the difference between ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’ so that healthy food is not thrown away prematurely.
keep fruit and vegetables in the fridge and adding a piece of kitchen towel to bagged salad to keep it fresher for longer.
Compost your food waste - handy hints and advice at www.recyclenow.com
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