UK recycling legislation proposals for 2023 – the future of commercial food waste

18th March 2020 | Commercial Energy

It’s no secret that sustainability has become more of a priority for businesses, their stakeholders and the public at large in the last five years that it ever was before. On an individual level this means recycling our household waste and making ethical consumer choices but when it comes to boardrooms there are more onerous considerations when it comes to managing waste.

Currently, businesses in the UK are only required to ensure food waste is hygienically disposed of, ensuring no cross-contamination with fresh food preparation, with no stipulation that it must be recycled. This is set to change with the possible implementation of stricter legislation in 2023 which will introduce mandatory separate food waste collections, with a targeted 75% recycling rate by 2030.

Food waste

A similar legislation change was recently implemented in Scotland as part of the Scottish government’s plan to promote a circular economy for waste which treats waste as a resource that can be reused or recycled endlessly. Since 2016 all Scottish businesses that produce more than 5kg of food waste have a legal obligation to have all food waste and spoiled items collected for separate recycling by a registered waste carrier service.

Since then, feedback for the changes to Scottish businesses has been positive. It was found that companies’ buying habits changed due to the regulations, with most beginning to buy according more to what they needed with a drive to reduce food waste as much as possible. In addition, it also cut down on general waste being sent to landfill which promotes the fight against climate change. In early 2016, Zero Waste Scotland revealed that the amount of food waste treated at Scottish anaerobic digestion plants had increased by as much as 15,000 tonnes in the first few months of the regulations taking effect and had continued to rise since then.

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