ADBA PRESS RELEASE
News that Eric Pickles’ £250m fund for waste collection is to be restricted to councils that intend to retain or bring back weekly black bag collections has been greeted with dismay by senior figures in the organic waste recycling industry.
In evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, David Prout, the senior civil servant responsible for Localism, said that the fund “is about reinstating or retaining a weekly black bag collection”.
In the run up to Christmas and in the wake of disappointing Treasury figures on economic growth, this apparent ruling out of local authority schemes that propose a weekly separated food waste but fortnightly residual waste collections will come as further bad news for George Osborne and Chris Huhne.
DCLG’s plans could severely hamper the ability of the Coalition Government to be the ‘greenest government ever’ while reducing the UK’s budget deficit in the midst of a recession.
This preference for weekly residual waste collections has been maintained despite compelling evidence demonstrating that fortnightly residual waste collections not only boost recycling rates but are also cheaper and often preferred by residents. They also reduce the amount of food people throw away in the first place.
The anaerobic digestion sector – recognised by Defra this year as delivering the ‘greatest environmental benefit’ of any option for food waste treatment – will meet to discuss these issues at the ADBA National Conference on 14 December, in a session entitled ‘Waste Collection, Gate Fees and the Impact of Eric Pickles.’
Lord Redesdale, ADBA Chairman and Liberal Democrat peer said:
Green infrastructure has huge potential to provide the growth the UK economy so desperately needs – if it is supported by government policy. Anaerobic digestion (AD) offers a vast range of benefits, treating our waste efficiently and preserving our valuable resources, whilst at the same time building growth in the UK economy, creating 35,000 new jobs, generating renewable energy capacity, and tackling climate change.
The government risks throwing away those benefits and increasing council tax bills if they pursue weekly residual waste collections at the expense of separate food waste collections. The value of our recycled waste is much higher when source-segregated as the quality of each part is higher – especially when not contaminated with food waste.
Source segregated local authority waste food treated with anaerobic digestion (AD) could deliver over 20TWhs of energy each year. Now is the time that departments like CLG should be looking to support the renewables sector. The Coalition can still be the greenest government ever; it does not have to be a compromise. With government support and access to feedstocks AD can deliver the Christmas good news that Osborne and Huhne have been waiting for.