Thursday 16th April 2015
With the country gearing up for the most uncertain general election in history all eyes are on the big parties’ policies as we decide which way to cast our votes.
A lot of big issues are being discussed, immigration, the NHS and austerity. It is becoming clear that environmental spending is not safe from the sweeping cuts we’ve all been experiencing.
A big issue, which is being overlooked by the big parties, is the future of waste (we prefer the word resource) management. A glaring omission from the manifestos of Labour and the Conservatives is a commitment to ban landfilling of food waste. In fact the only party to make any commitments in this area are the Green party, but even they have not set a date for when this ban would come into force.
Labour did make plans to ban the landfilling of food waste but backtracked when the Conservatives presented an analysis claiming the loss of revenue from landfill tax would be in the hundreds of millions.
It is clear that a more comprehensive analysis of the socio-economic impact of a ban is needed. Taking into account both the costs and benefits; Job creation, alternative energy production, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and a move towards circular economy values.
In a global context this is not new territory, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Austria, Germany and Sweden have all introduced some level of food waste to landfill ban.
When questioned by Labour MP Chris Heaton-Harris DEFRA stated they have ruled out a ban, saying that it would add financial burden to businesses and local authorities. They add that the anaerobic digestion strategy and WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign have been effective at encouraging a shift away from using landfill and towards energy recovery or recycling. This is despite the fact that the most successful countries in terms of recycling rates are also the ones, which have instituted landfill bans.
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