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WRAP Defends Anaerobic Digestion as Daily Mail Belittles Efforts to Collect Food Waste

UK newspaper “The Daily Mail” regularly runs articles about government stupidity, as they see it. Their “blue rinse” readership always seems to lap up this sort of editorial, and it no doubt sells papers.

(The following poster from Deviant Art shows what a member of the public thinks of Food Waste Recycling, and it is not at all what the Daily Mail would have us believe!)

Recycle Food Waste - poster

It also can be the case that fully harmonising the AD facilities being available, within all areas, won’t be possible at the start, but there is no reason to criticize the WRAP staff for that. Let there be no mistake, here at the AD Blog, we see no problem with utilizing the food waste, or whatever else comes available as a regular feedstock. It’s just that getting departments set up to achieve an aim is a slow and ponderous mechanism, and in the interim there will be some inefficiencies.

WRAP jumps to the defence of anaerobic digestion

“The chief executive of WRAP has jumped to the defence of anaerobic digestion after the technology was attacked yesterday in the Daily Mail. According to Dr Liz Goodwin, an article published in the newspaper entitled ‘Slopbuckets farce: UK-wide scheme …”

According to Dr Liz Goodwin, an article published in the newspaper entitled ‘Slopbuckets farce: UK-wide scheme to turn leftovers into energy only creates enough power for one small town’ is misleading and plays down the environmental and economic benefits of the food waste treatment technology.

The Daily Mail story said that food waste collectionsusing ‘slop-buckets’ had been imposed upon millions of families so that the material could be used to generate energy through anaerobic digestion (AD). But, it said that only 46 AD plants are currently in operation, producing 60MW of electricity – enough to power 40,000 homes.

The Mail also pointed to trials launched by WRAP earlier this week to establish new markets for digestate (see story) as evidence that the government did not know what to do with the waste once collected.

Doretta Cox of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collections told the paper: “They decided everyone would have to have slopbuckets, but they didn’t look at the market.

“It is clear that all the schemes for collecting separate food waste defy common sense. It is expensive to collect this stuff and then you have to transport it for many miles before you can get to an anaerobic digestion plant. You have to question the sense in that. They are desperate to find a use for it.”


Commenting on the story, Dr Goodwin said it was important to celebrate the ‘success story’ of AD.

She said: “Yesterday’s story in the Daily Mail ‘Slop-buckets farce’ gives a misleading view of the rapidly growing role which food waste and anaerobic digestion (AD) are playing in delivering economic and environmental benefits to the UK.”

Dr Goodwin said there were still 15 million tonnes of food waste produced in the UK every year which in the past were sent to landfill but now could be turned in renewable energy and a cheap alternative to fertiliser.

So, the official answer is that the industry is getting there. What is your view?

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