Food waste landfill ban considered

Food waste could be banned from landfill under proposals being put out for consultation in the coming weeks, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has said.

Food waste could be banned from landfill under proposals being put out for consultation in the coming weeks, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has said.

He told the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee that leftover food could be prevented from going into the ground as part of efforts to cut waste.

He faced criticism from the committee that the recently published food strategy had no "hard edge" to back up parts of its vision for the future of our food supplies up to 2030, including avoiding food waste as much as possible.

But Benn said the upcoming consultation was "very hard edge" and would look at a landfill ban, which is being considered as one of several strategies to cut food waste, along with raising awareness and providing incentives for turning food waste into energy.

"Should food waste continue to go to landfill? I don't think it's sensible that it should," he said.

The Environment Secretary said uneaten food could go to composting or to make energy, for example through a biological process known as anaerobic digestion.

The consultation is also expected to look at the possibility of stopping other waste products such as aluminium cans, glass or paper from ending up in landfill.

Benn also told the committee that farmers, suppliers and retailers should be applauded for keeping food supplies flowing in the light of the bad weather.

He said the snowy conditions had posed challenges to harvesting crops, providing animal feed, getting supplies in and out of depots and milk deliveries.

But he said: "A lot of what we take for granted in this country is dependent on distribution systems. I think they've done a good job and we should applaud them for that - and the farmers too."

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