The government has revealed its Resources and Waste Strategy, in conjunction with the introduction of annual food waste reporting. It was announced on the 18th December that there will be a legal onus to pay for ‘damaging waste’ for those deemed responsible for producing it. This includes both food waste, and non-food waste.
The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has constructed a “Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy”, which offers advice for manufacturers on dealing with wastage. Avoiding food waste in the first instance should be the main strategy for producers. Introduction of annual surplus and waste by food businesses is expected to promote better control over excess produce, although the government has stated it will consider introduction of targets to prevent food waste.
As well as reducing food waste overall, there is opportunity to turn excess food waste into fertiliser, and for conversion to energy. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) have lauded this government scheme, and says incentivisation of producers to recycle and reduce their waste is a necessary step in the right direction.
Looking at plastic waste, the government scheme aims to tax single-use plastic products that have a recycled material content below 30%. Longer term, it is expected that plastics may soon be banned where an alternative product is available for use, and 2050 is the target at which the government hope to remove all unnecessary waste.