Just over a year ago, in December 2018, the Government launched its Resources and Waste Strategy which included the introduction of mandatory collections of food waste from residential and commercial properties by 2023. Following a public consultation the Government confirmed its commitment to this policy in July 2019.
Whilst the likely result of increased recycling and reduction of waste to landfill is broadly seen as a positive move, there was no hiding from the fact that collection costs will undoubtedly increase for local authorities as new collection vehicles, more staff, residential engagement etc. will be needed.
At the recent Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association conference, Hillary Tanner, a policy advisor at the Local Government Association, confirmed that increased central government funding will be required. It was explained that whilst around 51% of councils in the UK currently collect food waste, many have reported issues with upfront costs, despite saving costs in the long run in waste disposal fees. Ms. Tanner highlighted that more financial support is needed if the remaining 49% of councils are to introduce food waste collections efficiently.
Although the Government previously ensured that local authorities will be resourced to meet the new net costs including upfront transition costs, the exact details are yet to be confirmed. However, it remains to be seen how the result of the General Election will impact on government funding in this area. As such there is a concern that the 2023 deadline for all councils to separately collect food waste will come around before sufficient financial support is provided.