Biowaste and biodegradable wastes

Introduction

Biowaste comprises garden and food waste. Biodegradable waste includes all other biodegradable materials such as paper and wood. Biodegradable waste fractions with varying moisture content and carbon/nitrogen ratios will have different optimal treatments. Generally LARAC believes that:

  • Reuse and recycling are preferred to incineration.
  • Home composting is preferred over central treatment.
  • Anaerobic Digestion has advantages over centralised in vessel composting for separated food waste.
  • Where gas is produced, use as a transport fuel, direct injection into the grid and/or CHP processes for electricity generation are advocated.

More detailed policy on different biowaste is shown below:

Food Waste

LARAC fully supports the prevention of food waste in the first instance. Following this, the preferred treatment for vegetable and fruit waste is home composting.  For catering waste/cooked food waste and large amounts of domestic kitchen waste Anaerobic Digestion is considered the best route followed by in vessel composting.

Further, LARAC believes that food producers have a major role to play in reducing food waste, particularly in relation to excessive packaging and retailer promotions such as BOGOF. LARAC encourages retailers to sign up to The Courtauld Commitment: a voluntary agreement between WRAP and retailers which aims to address these issues and reduce the quantity of food and packaging waste.

Park and Garden Waste

In situ composting or natural degradation is preferred.  Where these are not practicable, the optimal treatment method depends on the nature of the garden waste with composting preferred. LARAC supports the principle of local authorities being able to charge for garden waste collections if they choose to do so.

Paper and Card

For paper and card, recycling is the preferred option.

Wood

For waste wood, the waste hierarchy is adhered to.  Reuse is strongly favoured followed by recycling. Efficient EfW is supported only where these are not possible.

Biodegradable Bags

LARAC prefers that neither biodegradable bags for the separate collection of food wastes nor supermarket carrier bags are used. LARAC therefore encourages the use of reusable bags by supermarket consumers.

Where liners for separate collection of food waste are used, LARAC believes that these should be compatible with the treatment technology available locally. LARAC recommends that this approach should be a used in conjunction with a ‘no food waste’ stickers system on residual waste bins.