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Environment Act 2021 Comes Fully Into Force In 2023 - UPDATE

  • Macerators Banned
  • All Food Waste To Be Presented Separately For Collection
  • All Food Organisations Affected

The Government announced an update on 21st October 2023, of progress in implementing the Environment Act 2021. The mandatory requirement to collect food waste separately from general waste at all businesses and households in England will now happen before 31st March 2026. Section 57 of the Act effectively bans macerators and other equipment which puts food waste into sewers. It’s been a long time coming! Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all banned macerators a while ago (Scotland in 2014). Finally, in 2026, England will follow suit. So what’s going to happen?


Macerators Banned

The unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly practice of tipping food waste into a macerator bench unit where it is chopped up and flushed (using high volumes of water) into drain systems will finally end. That will affect most hospitals, hotels, restaurants, prisons, military barracks, universities, schools and many other catering establishments. The same goes for liquidising digesters which use enzymes and hot water (lots of it) to turn food waste into mush before discharging to sewers.

All Food Waste Must Be Presented Separately For Collection

If you don’t do it already, your food waste will need to go into separate wheelie bins for collection as a distinct waste stream. It won’t be able to go into general waste unless you get a rural exemption or your volumes are under 5kg a day. And you’ll start to get bills for food waste disposal, another overhead cost. Not only that, you’ll need to fill out an annual food waste return detailing how much you have disposed of.

So What To Do?

Don’t be caught out. Start planning now to put systems in place to make sure you comply and avoid hefty fines. Start measuring your food waste by weighing it for a week or two to understand how much you generate and estimate costs. Put equipment in place to reduce the cost of food waste disposal.

In Scotland in 2014, when the same rules came in, hospitals (the largest commercial producers of food waste) considered alternative technologies to comply and reduce disposal costs. Most chose the Eco-Smart Food Waste Dryer. It sterilises food waste in an overnight drying cycle and reduces the volume of food waste by over 80%. The wet, yucky food waste is turned into a dry, sterile powder, with no pathogens, virtually no smell, saving thousands a year in disposal costs. The dry powder goes predominantly to anaerobic digestion plants where it is used to generate energy from biogas.

For more information on the steps you can take to comply and the Eco-Smart Food Waste Dryer contact us.