20 May 2016

The Real Economic Benefit of Separate Biowaste Collections

Independent research commissioned by Olleco detailing the real cost of food waste was launched at a Parliamentary Reception on the 19th May supported by a cross party group of MP’s including the Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate change, Dr Alan Whitehead.

Report shows that food waste “collected separately” can reduce costs for businesses and local authorities

  • REA releases new, independently researched report on the separate collection of food and other biowastes,
  • The report concludes that in most scenarios, separate food and other biowaste collections can save local authorities and businesses money,
  • Improved management of food wastes can reduce GHG emissions from landfill, support the growing green gas industry, and help the UK hit its 2020 recycling target.

    New modelling released today by the Renewable Energy Association has concluded that in the majority of situations, food waste collected separately can save money for local authorities and businesses in the UK.

    The UK has a legally binding recycling target of 50 per cent by 2020. The UK is presently at 45 per cent and falling, and there is no clear plan from Government to improve this performance.

    The report “The Real Economic Benefit of Separate Biowaste Collections,” launched this afternoon at a Parliamentary Reception in London, outlines that although it is counterintuitive for many organisations, a number of factors can actually reduce costs compared to regular general (residual) waste collections. These include:

  • Separate food and other biowaste collections require fewer general waste collections (once the putrescible material has been removed on a weekly basis),
  • Separately collected food and other biowaste significantly reduces the weight of general waste collections, which in turn reduces the cost of disposing of general wastes in landfill (lower weight reduces gate fees charges by landfills),
  • Gate fees for the separately collected food waste are significantly lower at anaerobic digestion or composting facilities compared to landfill sites.

Added benefits of separate food waste collections include significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions from landfill and the anticipated growth of the green gas industry. Green gas is produced through anaerobic digestion, which uses food waste as a feedstock to produce nearly carbon-neutral gas. The green gas can in turn by used to generate heat, power, and even be used as a renewable fuel in Heavy Goods Vehicles.

The report was sponsored by national food waste collector Olleco and independently written by Eunomia Consulting. It is part of a larger campaign, led by the Renewable Energy Association, for UK-wide separate food waste collections. For details, see


Dr. Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA said

“Separate food waste collections is a cost-effective policy that can help us hit our recycling target, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and improve our energy security in one fell swoop.

Many regions, including Scotland, Wales, and many regions in Europe, have realised the benefits of not letting food waste go to waste. There’s a range of companies now in the UK that are producing their own renewable heat and power from it, or even fuelling vehicles with it.

With our 2020 recycling target fast approaching, now is the time for England to step forwards, where few businesses and only about half of local authorities are enjoying the benefits from collecting biowaste separately.”

Fergus Healy, Food Waste & AD Director at Olleco said:

“We throw a shocking amount of food waste into landfill simply because we haven’t collected and treated it separately. Our new report provides an overwhelming economic and environmental case for doing so. We believe that the collection and separate treatment of food waste will play a significant part in helping the UK achieve its 2020 recycling targets.”

To download the report, please visit our downloads page

Keep up to date

Get our latest news & updates straight to your inbox. Subscribe below.