That’s a WRAP

After attending the iba show in Munich, Germany, I spent the remainder of last week touring the UK. On Tuesday I travelled to Birmingham for the RWM show, then it was back to London on Wednesday for Packaging Innovations, and Thursday took me to South Yorkshire for Highfield ABC’s Fighting Food Fraud event.

With lots of ground covered and much to discuss, this week’s blog looks at advances in food waste. I’ll tell you more about the food fraud event next week, and we’ve got a packaging round-up coming up which will detail the latest developments seen at Packaging Innovations.

I spent most of my day at RWM in the Energy From Waste theatre, where a particular highlight was a session delivered by WRAP’s Mike Falconer Hall, programme area manager, organics, on ‘A new action plan for food recycling’.

With around seven million tonnes of food disposed by UK households annually, and a further eight million tonnes disposed of collectively by hospitality and food service, food manufacture, retail, wholesale sectors and ‘other’ sectors, this results in an estimate of 15 million tonnes of food waste arising in the UK each year. At the same time, facilities such as anaerobic digestion (AD) plants cite lack of feedstock as a major challenge.

This missing link in the chain, coupled with the challenge on our hands to reach 2020 waste targets, leaves us in no doubt that we need to put something in place to encourage the uptake of, and increase in, food recycling.

Hall outlined plans to work with industry stakeholders to develop and deliver an action plan for England – the Food Waste Recycling Action Plan – and establish a steering group to hear the barriers and actions needed to drive food recycling forwards. This new plan aims to help food waste collectors maximise the amount of food waste they collect and secure the supply of food waste as a key feedstock to the AD and in vessel composting (IVC) sectors.

Partnership working, engagement with both industry and local authorities, the development of new tools and guidance, the potential to evolve outputs and income sources, and to disseminate WRAP insights were all suggested as ways of how this action plan can progress.

Hall argued that it could impact and influence new ways of thinking and working, with the opportunity for collaborative and joint working leading to an increase and uptake in food recycling.

“Industry buy in is paramount to the action plan for food waste recycling,” Hall stressed.

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