MEMBER PRESS RELEASE – Expert calls on new food waste collection services to support farmers in fertiliser crisis
Fertiliser prices are surging towards £1,000 a tonne, up from £650 last week, connected to the rise in the price of gas, key to the production process. Meanwhile Russia is also the world’s biggest exporter of synthetic fertiliser, supplying more than a fifth of urea, a key fertiliser used in the UK.
News reports suggest farmers are coping with this change by planning to use less fertiliser, but this may impact the amount of produce they can produce, in a market that is already suffering from price rises due to supply chain changes from both covid and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Kevin Quigley is the Commercial Director of food waste recycling firm Warrens who use anaerobic digestion (AD) to create energy from food which would otherwise go to waste – this waste treatment process also creates a biofertilizer as a bioproduct in the resultant digestate made up of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, high in nutrients and readily absorbed by crops.
With the mandatory introduction of separate food waste collections imminent for local authorities, Kevin wants local authorities and the agricultural industry to join up to alleviate some of the emerging pressures that surround demand for fertilizer.
Kevin said: “Business and households are both facing rising prices in many areas including both food and fuel. The devastating war in Ukraine and the sanctions placed on Russia as a result of their invasion have caused gas prices to soar. Fertiliser, an essential part of the food production process, has been affected as a result. The increasing gas prices will, unfortunately, contribute to the cost-of-living crisis in a variety of areas.
“We are in an unpredictable situation at the moment so it is hard to offer concrete advice on how to best tackle the cost of living crisis, but plans to minimise and reduce the effects will help.
“The mandatory separate collection of food waste was already on the cards for local government as outlined in the UK government’s Environment Act and many are in the middle of making plans around how they roll this out. It’s worth highlighting that fertilizer is a product of the anaerobic digestion process that food waste goes through to create energy – if we’re collecting more food waste, we’ll produce more fertilizer and this could go some way to support the current supply and demand issue that farmers are facing.”
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About Warrens Group
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of BioCapital LTD, Warrens Group is one of the North East’s pioneers of food waste recycling.
The team has helped local authorities, schools and businesses from a wide range of sectors over the years develop a more sustainable approach to waste management. It was also one of the first food waste recycling companies in the UK to power its HGV waste collection vehicles with biogas converted directly from its own food waste customers. From collection to conversion, the team have taken full ownership of their supply chain, driving the need for a circular economy, as part of their on-going commitment to sustainability and the people and environment they serve. www. warrens-group.com