food waste

Of the 169 local authorities that do already collect food waste, 12% per cent did not accept compostable bags

The Co-op is looking to mount pressure on local councils to accelerate the rollout of household food waste collections.

It is writing to the near-half of all local authorities that do not collect food waste in a bid to encourage universal weekly collections and acceptance of compostable bags.

The society is keen for this to happen sooner than the date which the government is working to - 2023 - for homes to get weekly kerbside food waste collections.

It said of the 169 local authorities that do already collect food waste, 12% per cent did not accept compostable bags.

The Co-op has written to these 20 local authorities calling on them to change their position.

Its efforts come as new figures extrapolated from Wrap data show about 1,000 tonnes of food waste a day ends up in landfill, when it could be composted or used to create energy and help cut greenhouse gasses.

The Co-op points out that food waste rots and produces methane, which it says is considered a greenhouse gas 23 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.

The Co-op has committed to making compostable carriers widely available through its wholesale operation, if local authorities and the government commit to accepting the technology in food waste collections, saving more than five million plastic bags a month from ending up in landfill.

The Co-op said twice as much of the total food wasted in the UK a year could be recycled into energy and fertiliser, if this were to be introduced quicker.

“How we do business really matters. The world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future,” said Co-op chief commercial officer Michael Fletcher.

“We are committed in helping our members and customers to make environmentally friendly choices and reducing the environmental impact of products is and always has been at the core of Co-op.”