The European Commission has launched a 12 week public consultation on its proposed Circular Economy package, which aims to establish a competitive, resource-efficient economy.
As one of the few circular economy technologies already functioning, anaerobic digestion (AD) will take a leading role in resource-efficient policy. Commenting on the technology’s central role in resource management, ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, said:
As the population continues to rise, economic growth can only be sustainable if we better manage our resources, cut carbon emissions and invest in our ageing infrastructure. To keep moving in the right direction, the revitalised Circular Economy package will need to recognise the huge potential for green job creation, resource security, environmental protection and economic growth.
The ambition to promote a circular economy is welcome, and food waste policy should be at its centre. Not only would food waste collections increase recycling rates, but treating the UK’s inedible food waste through AD would produce over 9TWh of green gas per year – enough to heat half of the homes in London.
AD also recycles nutrients such as phosphorus, which is acknowledged in the consultation document as a critical raw material: it is finite, and essential for plant growth. While we warmly welcome this recognition for one of AD’s vital non-energy benefits, it’s important that a developing digestate market is not disrupted by unnecessary changes to regulation, such as European-wide End of Waste criteria, while the UK’s existing PAS110 standard is still becoming established.
An ambitious Circular Economy package will cultivate a thriving domestic and international market in recycled material, such as digestate, helping to establish new markets for biochemicals and bioplastics, and cement the UK’s position as one of Europe’s leaders on food waste AD facilities and technology.
The consultation document will be seeking comments by 20th August 2015, and will be available at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/closing_the_loop_en.htm. ADBA will be seeking the views of our members before issuing our own response to the consultation.