The government must prioritise food waste for anaerobic digestion due to the benefit of energy generation, a renewables trade body has claimed.
In response to the coalition's Waste Review, which closed yesterday (October 7), the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) has called for food waste to go to AD over composting and incineration.
And, it has stressed the need for a massive increase in household food waste collection and is advocating separate collections, where households have a bin reserved for food waste, so that the "valuable" resource can be more easily used for AD.
ADBA notes that the coalition is committed to a ‘huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion', but claims that the government will fail to achieve this unless the waste is made available for digestion. This will require changes to waste collection, and priority for treatment through AD, it says.
With cuts imminent in this month's Spending Review, ADBA highlights that many local authorities may be considering shelving schemes to segregate food. However, the association claims that while 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".
According to ADBA, 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.
Commenting on the need to secure food waste for AD, 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."
The association added that if supported appropriately, AD could meet up to 40% of the UK's target for renewable heat production by 2020.
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