Food and Garden Waste.
Revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD) – 2008/98/EC.
The legislation necessary to enact this EU directive into UK law was passed in March 2011 in the form of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.
However, following the application for a judicial review mounted by the Campaign for Real Recycling, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, revised the regulations because of fears that they might be overturned in court.
The judicial review is still being pursued and has been postponed until c. February 2013.
The legislative framework for treatment of bio-waste, with the principal objective of separating bio-waste from municipal waste, diverting it from landfill and in the process creating energy and useful products.
‘Bio-waste’ means biodegradable garden and park waste, food and kitchen waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises and comparable food processing plants.
The directive will affect all those who produce these materials, with a target to introduce separate collections for bio-waste. This waste stream can then be treated in a way that minimises its impact on the environment and creates environmentally safe outputs.
For most organisations the simplest option will be to consult your existing waste management contractor and seek their recommendations. NB – it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that your contractor has disposed of your waste in a compliant manner and, if necessary, to produce supporting documentation to the Environment Agency. An acceptable document would be a suitably-completed Waste Transfer Note.
The majority of food and garden waste is still sent to landfill which causes problems for the environment such as greenhouse gas emissions (Methane is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2) and the consumption of rapidly diminishing landfill capacity. In the UK alone, bio-waste accounts for 88 million tones of municipal waste each year.
Article 22 of the rWFD requires Member States to ’take measures........to encourage: (a) the separate collection of bio-waste with a view to its composting and digestion; (b) the treatment of bio-waste in a way that fulfils a high level of environmental protection; and (c) the use of environmentally safe materials produced from bio-waste’.
Government action in the UK is likely to focus on measures to limit the amount of bio-waste produced, and on backing for treatment technologies that will transform bio-waste into a combination of energy and recyclable materials.
At present the leading treatment options are In-vessel Composting (IVC) and Anaerobic Digestion (AD). Both of these methods meet the legislative requirements and produce safe materials such as compost and electricity.
The current legislation on bio-waste in the revised Waste Framework Directive can be found at:
After a growing feeling within the EC that additional enforcement action may be necessary to maximise the financial and environmental benefits of managing biodegradable waste, the European Commission was aiming to develop proposals for a specific bio-waste directive by the end of 2010. These plans have now been dropped, however the European Commission is instead reviewing the implementation of the entire Waste Framework Directive and will report by the end of 2014.