ADBA PRESS RELEASE
Defra’s publication of the Waste Review and AD Strategy and Action Plan are important staging posts in the development of anaerobic digestion in the UK. AD has the potential to grow into a £2bn industry generating a fifth of the UK’s domestic gas and replacing around a quarter of carbon intensive artificial fertiliser with digestate – and food waste from homes and businesses represents over 70% of that potential.
We therefore welcome the Waste Review’s recognition that AD offers the greatest environmental benefit of any organic waste treatment, and look forward to the consultation on banning biodegradable waste from landfill – action which should be taken sooner rather than later.
However, having recognised that AD is the best option, the government should have been bolder and called for as much organic waste to be treated through AD as possible.
We are also disappointed by the lack of recognition of the importance of source-segregating food waste, in reducing waste arising, allowing easier recycling of products from other materials such as plastics, and creating a quality fertiliser from AD which will help decarbonise food production. With 1.1% of overall UK emissions coming from artificial fertilisers, and oil prices increasing their costs and the cost of food all the time, this is a huge environmental and social issue.
The AD Strategy and Action Plan has been the product of a vast amount of work between government and industry.
While we would have liked to see a clearer strategy to prioritise source-segregated food waste for AD, the actions which have been identified – many of which ADBA will be leading on – should help make it easier to grow the industry. Developments such as a best practice scheme for AD will ultimately help break down barriers to plant development, reduce the risk of investing in AD and deliver the industry’s potential to UK plc.