According to the research, firms in the region recycled 10 per cent more food waste in 2016 than in the same period in 2015 and the firm predicts these figures will continue to rise as more businesses wise up to the benefit of segregating and recycling their food waste.
With nearly 7.3 million tonnes of food waste produced every year in the UK, food waste recycling is an ideal way for local businesses to boost their sustainability credentials and appeal to consumers who are ever more environmentally-conscious.
More than 5000 tonnes of food waste was collected from businesses in the North East in 2016 by Biffa’s Food Waste Collection service, diverting it from landfill sites and instead sending it to anaerobic digestion (AD) plants where it is converted into energy.
On a national level, Biffa saw a 27 per cent increase in the amount of food waste it recycles as disposing of food waste responsibly and landfill diversion becomes the focus of waste management policy.
A typical AD plant can generate up to 1800 cubic meters of biogas from two tonnes of food waste; enough to produce 1800 kWh of renewable electricity – the average annual consumption of one UK household.
Recycling food waste will help business prepare for anticipated new Food Waste regulations in the UK, likely to be introduced in the coming years, having already come into force in Scotland last year and in Northern Ireland this year. Businesses in Scotland and Northern Ireland producing any more than 5kg of food waste per week are now required to present it for separate collection.
Chris Savage, general manager of Poplar’s AD plant at Biffa, said: “It’s encouraging to see that more and more businesses in the North East are choosing to recycle their food waste rather than sending it to landfill.
“As a responsible waste management services provider, we work closely with all of our clients to advise on the best way to manage their food waste in an efficient and environmentally-friendly manner, including the importance of food waste segregation.
“Our Food Waste Collection service offers an affordable way for businesses to play their part in landfill diversion and we hope that more businesses in the area will decide to dispose of their food waste responsibly.”
According to research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the UK could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27m tonnes and businesses could save £2bn, if we achieve zero food waste to landfill by 2020.