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Is waste separation and depackaging the forgotten element of the food waste reforms?

food waste caddy on side of kerb

Last month, Recycling Minister Robbie Moore announced that councils will be supported with up to £295 million in funding, to introduce weekly residential food waste collections where they are not already in place and as part of the government’s wider Simpler Recycling plans.  These plans, which seek to remove the postcode lottery, aim to have collections rolled out to most households in England by 2026, and whilst the additional funding is of no doubt welcome to local authorities, there is much conversation around the vast amount to do to get there.

Amongst the conversation within local government is concern around the timeframes to mobilise, the additional logistical pressures in both dense urban and remote rural areas, and the pressure of councils all tendering for new fleets at a similar time, putting pressure on the supply chain.  These are valid concerns given the budget is noted to be specifically for containers and specialist collection vehicles, but we are concerned by a lack of discussion around the processing thereon.

This cannot be overlooked.  In an ideal world, food waste caddies would only ever include organic waste ready for onward processing – in particular, anaerobic digestion. However, the reality is far from this.  In our experience, car batteries, clothing, gym equipment and even hand tools are all common finds lurking in food waste bins.  And that’s before we even get to unremoved food packaging.

These items need separating from the organic waste before the food can go on to create gas or electricity, and it is vital that councils, alongside their waste management companies, factor this into their planning.


How can we help?

Rowan Food and Biomass Engineering already work with waste management companies, suppling our Dominator Depackaging machine to support a number of councils already operating food waste collections. Our systems handle everything from intake, conveying, milling and separation, to organics transfer and the cleaning and conveying of packaging.  Our machines separate the inorganic waste from the food and are strong enough to cope with some of the foreign items we find on a regular basis.

Through our experience and knowledge, we can help local authorities identify what they need as part of their procurement of waste management services, to provide practical support whilst also helping them to achieve their duty to deliver value for public money.

We can equally equip waste management companies to be ready to respond both effectively and competitively.

For more information, please contact us.