Food waste is a major issue, with the UK throwing away over 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink every year. This costs £12bn a year and is extremely bad for the environment too.
The laws on food waste are changing, with separate collections now starting in parts of the UK. Zero Waste Scotland has announced new regulations coming into place from January 2014 which will see food businesses producing over 50kg of food waste per week having to present a separate collection.
The rest of the UK is expected to follow Scotland’s lead on food waste very soon.
The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 were passed by the Scottish Parliament on 9 May 2012.
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The regulations make the following provisions:
- Businesses to present metal, plastic, glass, paper and card for separate collection from 1 January 2014.
- Food businesses (except in rural areas) which produce over 50 kg of food waste per week to present that food waste for separate collection from 1 January 2014.
- Food businesses (except in rural areas) which produce over 5 kg of food waste per week to present that food waste for separate collection from 1 January 2016.
- Local authorities to provide a minimum recycling service to householders.
- Waste contractors to provide collection and treatment services which deliver high quality recycling.
- A ban on any metal, plastic, glass, paper, card and food collected separately for recycling from going to incineration or landfill from 1 January 2014.
- All new incinerators must ensure that metals and dense plastics have been removed from residual municipal waste prior to incineration.
- A ban on biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill from 1 January 2021.
Recycling food waste has huge the potential to benefit the environment and bring significant economic benefits. The new food waste regulations will require food businesses to take reasonable steps to present their food waste for separate collection.
Examples of Food Businesses
A food business is described as “An undertaking, whether for profit or not, and whether public or private, carrying out any activity related to the processing, distribution, preparation or sale of food”. Examples of such businesses are restaurants, café’s shopping centres and food courts, canteens, hotels, public houses that serve food, food shops, supermarkets, schools & colleges, prisons, nursing homes and hospitals.
What is Food Waste?
Food waste is food material that is discarded or unable to be used. It includes any raw, cooked, edible and inedible material, (such as bones, egg shells, fruit & veg peelings) generated during the preparation or consumption of meals. It does not include man-made packaging. Examples of items that can be collected are fruit and vegetable peelings, meat, fish & bones, egg shells, teabags and coffee grounds, bread & cakes, cereals, left over cooked food and out of date food. Examples of items that are not collected in a food waste collection are cat or dog food, animal bedding, animal waste, packaging, plastic bags and general refuse.
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