A report on domestic food waste has called for controversial changes to EU regulations that would see the co-treatment of sewage sludge, and organic food waste. 

Tasked with analysing household food waste in London, the ‘Bag it or Bin it’ report, published this week, recommends that the government push for changes to the EU Sludge Directive in order to allow the anaerobic digestion of both waste materials alongside one another. In particular it calls for London Mayor Boris Johnson to back the changes. 

The report claims this would allow existing AD plants owned by the water industry to make use of their spare capacity, estimated at around 10 to 20%. It adds this would create more competition in the organic waste management sector and encourage further AD projects to come forward. 

However the recommendation has been criticised by food waste disposal and waste management service, ReFood. 

Commercial director, Philip Simpson, said: “Currently at ReFood we are able to close the recycling loop as the end product of AD from food waste is a nutrient rich fertiliser which farmers can use to treat crops.

”If co-treatment was allowed then we believe the opportunities for using the valuable recovered nutrients as a fertiliser for growing new food products would be destroyed through the association with human waste and sewage. The EU regulation places the safety of the food chain as an obvious priority and this must be maintained.”

Simpson did express his support at other recommendations within the report however for a co-ordinated approach to household food waste, and an increase in food waste recycling. 

“It is only through a national strategy that we will reach recycling targets and reap the financial benefit,” he added.