"Scotland’s Zero Waste plans are wrong,” says Catering Equipment Suppliers Association, CESA

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CESA and the BHA have called for a rethink of Scotland’s Zero Waste plans. They say food waste disposers and other treatment technologies provide a better, cheaper and more environmentally-sound solution than the proposed kerbside collection system.

“We fully support the need to reduce landfill and segregate food waste at source,” says CESA chair Mick Shaddock. “But in their current state, Scotland’s proposed Zero Waste regulations not only add a serious financial burden to Scottish caterers, they also ignore the technologies, already available, that can solve the issues more cheaply and more effectively.”

CESA (the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association) has joined forces with the BHA (the British Hospitality Association) in a submission to Holyrood setting out the issues. Its key points are:

  •     The proposal to impose mandatory kerbside collection ignores the potential of established technologies, such as food waste disposers (FWDs) and composters, to achieve the Zero Waste objectives, more efficiently and more cheaply.
  •     The Bill’s ‘one solution’ model (of kerbside collection of food waste for treatment) is a barrier to innovation in developing waste recycling and disposal technologies.
  •     Technologies that separate, pre-treat or process food waste before it leaves the premises significantly reduce the volume (of food waste) transported by road. By improving the management of dry, solid waste they reduce cost and increase energy efficiency.
  •     Health and security could be compromised under the proposals. For example, onsite equipment already plays a crucial role in Scottish hospitals, where immediate treatment of food waste is a significant and established hygiene benefit.
  •     If collection of the food waste is disrupted, for example by weather or industrial action, then a significant health hazard would be created.
  •     The onsite food waste treatment equipment already used in 2,700 Scottish businesses will be rendered redundant by the proposals (even though it does a more efficient job at a lower cost). Meanwhile, the tax payer will have to fund the building of new food waste processing plants.

CESA also criticises the concerns raised in the Zero Waste proposals about the ‘potential adverse effects’ of FWDs and other food waste treatment systems. “These concerns are misleading and incorrect,” says Mick Shaddock. “We have provided Holyrood with robust, international scientific evidence to prove these technologies deliver an effective, environmentally-sound solution.”

The Zero Waste Proposals in numbers:

  •     £1,500: the average cost to Scottish businesses to cover the cost of the proposals’ food waste collection.
  •     2,700: the number of Scottish businesses that already have onsite food waste treatment equipment.
  •     2,700: the number of onsite treatment systems that will be made redundant by the proposals.
  •     17,000: the number of Scottish businesses that will be affected by the proposals.

CESA also points out that, in larger kitchens, onsite food waste equipment can actually contribute to the establishment’s income. An award-winning composting system at Imperial College, London, achieved payback in less than a year, by recycling over 50 tonnes of food waste from the campus.

“The established food waste treatment technologies are a better way to achieve the Zero Waste targets and position Scotland at the forefront of innovation in waste reduction,” says Mick Shaddock. “What’s more, they provide a solution that’s more environmentally-sound and at a lower cost.”

The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 150 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes. For more information on CESA visit http://www.cesa.org.uk.

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Toni Turner
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