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Recycling of catering and food waste (QSSAFFE) - FO0218

Description
In total, annual food waste in the UK is estimated to be 18 to 20 million tonnes. Although household food waste makes the largest single contribution (8.3 million tonnes), about an equivalent total (8.8 million tonnes) is wasted in the supply chain (Retailers (1.6), Food Manufacturers (4.1) and Food service and restaurants (3.0) million tonnes). This desk study will review the current situation regarding disposal and recycling of food and catering waste and explore the feeding of food and catering waste to farmed animals as a future option. This has the potential to enhance the sustainable use of the food waste resource, reduce waste, promote resilience to climate change and enhance the natural environment.

The project will be addressed in seven steps:
1. An initial review of current procedures for handling food waste taking into account best practice in the UK and internationally.
2. A description of the amount and nature of food waste.
3. The processes currently used for collecting, moving and treating food waste both in the UK and internationally.
4. The potential risks to human and animal health that might arise from the use of food waste in animal feed.
5. The sustainability of current processes for waste food disposal will be compared with its potential use in animal feed particularly in terms of social and environmental factors.
6. The economics of using food waste in animal feed will be compared with existing information on current disposal methods.
7. A final report will be prepared describing options for sustainable and safe use of food and catering waste.

The project will obtain information from published sources and grey literature, it will also obtain information by consulting experts from relevant industries, government bodies and academia.

Thus this project will seek to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the food chain by promoting sustainability and enhancing food security while ensuring any potential concerns for public and animal health are fully addressed. The study will establish the costs and benefits of feeding food and catering waste to pigs and poultry and compare these with existing options for disposal of food waste. This evidence will elicit options for sustainable and safe use of food and catering waste to inform policy development on the Animal By-Products Regulations
Objective
7. (b) Objectives

General Objectives

The feeding of waste food to pigs is a traditional practice that is still carried out in a number of countries. For example although legal in New Zealand, legislation requires that any waste containing meat is cooked (100°C for 1 hour). However a severe outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth disease led to the UK prohibiting the feeding to animals of catering waste that contains or has been in contact with animal by-products. This was followed by the subsequent enactment of the EU Animal by-products legislation (EC 1774/2002; EC 1069/2009).

Waste food is potentially of high nutritional content as an animal feed. Some food waste is currently disposed of through landfill although there are moves to reduce cost and increase sustainability via anaerobic digestion or composting and land spreading or incineration with/without energy recovery. The benefits and impacts of these disposal routes have been assessed but comparative data on recycling food and catering waste through the pig and poultry sectors are required. Hence the proposed study will build on the current evidence base to include a comparison of existing practices for food waste disposal with use as animal feed for pig and poultry. Life cycle analysis will be used to provide a comprehensive picture of management options for food waste.

This proposed desk-based study aims to review the current situation regarding disposal and recycling of food and catering waste and to explore the feeding of food and catering waste to farmed animals as a future option.
Policy drivers

The use of resources in a sustainable manner, the reduction of waste, resilience to climate change and the protection of the natural environment are Departmental priorities (Key Priority 2: Help to enhance the environment and biodiversity to improve quality of life, and Key Priority 3: Support a strong and sustainable green economy, resilient to climate change).

In addition, the enhancement of the competitiveness and resilience of the whole food chain to ensure a secure, environmentally sustainable and health supply of food are also Departmental priorities (Key Priority 1: Support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production). The assessment of the risks to public and animal health as well as the costs and benefits should feeding of food and catering waste to farmed livestock be re-introduced will also be addressed by this proposed research project

This proposed study is aimed to review existing evidence on options for sustainable and safe use of food and catering waste to inform policy development on the Animal By-Products Regulations. .

The proposed desk study will review existing methods for disposal and recycling of food and catering waste and explore the feasibility of feeding these materials to pigs and poultry. The study will provide evidence for and present comparative management options for Defra to consider. The specific benefits of the study will be to underpin Defra’s evidence base and support the Policy Cycle on issues including:

• means to reduce food waste;
• means to enhance the competitiveness, resilience and sustainability of the food chain;
• means to reduce GHG emissions


Technical Aims

A desk based study is required to inform Defra’s policy and evidence base. The study will be conducted in two phases and will address the following objectives:
Phase 1
1) Conduct an overarching review comparing current methods for the disposal and recycling of food and catering waste in terms of environmental sustainability, impact on global GHG emissions, cost, safety and animal health.

2) Establish the volumes and composition of different categories of food and catering waste currently recycled and potentially available for recycling through food waste management routes, including: the pig and poultry sectors, anaerobic digestion, composting and any other routes of recycling.
Internal Policy Review
A meeting will be held between Defra’s ABP and Waste Evidence Policy teams to review the outputs of Phase 1 of the study, to discuss any synergies and to agree how to proceed with Phase 2.

Phase 2

1) Identify methods of collecting, handling and processing of food and catering waste into animal feed, taking a risk-based approach covering environmental sustainability, food safety, animal health and economics.

2) Provide comparisons of the sustainability of recycling food and catering waste through the pig and poultry sectors with other existing options of recovery and disposal (e.g. anaerobic digestion, composting, and land spreading). There may be a requirement to assess different types/sources of food and catering waste as their composition and requirement for treatment may differ - which may directly and indirectly influence the sustainability of a particular route (e.g. the animal feed that could be replaced by recycling food waste via this route).

3) Undertake an assessment of the economic impact and practicalities of recycling food and catering waste through farmed livestock with other options of recycling and disposal, considering the logistics & regulatory requirements that would be required should recycling through livestock be considered as a future option for management of food and catering waste.
4) Undertake an assessment of the risks to public and animal health should recycling of food and catering waste through farmed livestock production be re-introduced.



Whilst the study should focus on the UK, depending on data availability, evidence should be drawn from other EU Member States as the ban falls under an EU Directive, and to allow comparisons across the EU.

Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : EVID4   (1062k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 1   (675k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 2   (292k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 3   (90k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 4   (110k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 5   (835k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 6   (94k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £80,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
The Food & Environment Research Agency
Keywords
Food Waste              
Pigs              
Recycling              
Resource efficient and resilient food chain              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science