Britain Talks Trash II

I’ve been reading some of the fine print on the Waste Strategy for England 2007 and there’s more than meets the eye. In addition to incentives for businesses to compost, the waste plan includes annual increases of the per tonne landfill tax so that it doubles by 2011. We’re seeing both the carrot and the stick.

As this article in a food industry publication reports, there has been talk that all biodegradable waste–organic matter, like food–will be banned from landfills. The European Union’s Landfill Directive–which mandates that by 2016, organic matter in landfills must be 35 percent of 1995 levels–encourages that kind of strong action. 

Whatever the reason, Britain is succeeding in composting municipal waste. The governmental Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is major factor, but some credit should go to Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) a private company that lists one of its three goals as “to reduce the amount of food thrown away by consumers and ensure more of it is collected for composting and recycling.” WRAP is currently working with 17 municipalities to determine the best way to compost food waste.

WRAP recently concluded that Britain throws out about one third of all the food that is bought (note–that doesn’t include food lost before purchase–from farms to processors to retailers). America surpasses that amount, but we have plenty of open space for landfills and states vying to become trash importers. Also, we don’t have an EU pushing us to act. In this case, that’s too bad.

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