Government invests £295 million to help English councils start separate food waste collections

The UK government has announced a £295 million investment to support local authorities in rolling out weekly food waste collections across England by the end of March 2026.

Government invests £295 million to help English councils start separate food waste collections

This initiative marks a significant step towards a more streamlined and environmentally friendly waste management system.

The funding will primarily target councils that haven't yet implemented food waste collection services. It will cover the provision of designated food waste containers for homes and specialised collection vehicles to ensure efficient waste transportation.

"Weekly food waste collections are a cornerstone of our plan to create a simpler, more user-friendly recycling system for everyone," said Recycling Minister Robbie Moore. "This will not only divert food scraps from landfills, but also contribute to our goals of tackling waste and mitigating climate change. We're backing councils with this funding to empower the nation to recycle more effectively."

Currently, millions of tonnes of food waste ends up in landfills or headed for incineration each year in the UK, generating harmful methane emissions and significantly impacting the environment. Anaerobic digestion plants such as those operated by Severn Trent Green Power, which convert food waste into biogas and fertiliser, offer a sustainable alternative.

"Weekly food waste collections will significantly boost recycling efforts in England and play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of food waste," said Claire Shrewsbury, Director of Insights and Innovations at waste reduction charity WRAP. "Our research suggests that once people witness the amount of food they discard, they become more motivated to minimise waste. Additionally, considering food waste costs an average household of four roughly £1,000 annually, weekly collections can not only encourage waste reduction but also create opportunities to generate green energy and compost from collected food scraps."

The funding allocation will be distributed based on a formula developed collaboratively by Defra, WRAP, and local authority organisations. Factors such as population density, existing waste collection infrastructure, and property types will be considered to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

This announcement comes shortly after a group of leading businesses, including some of the major supermarket chains, urged the government to introduce mandatory food waste reporting for retailers. The initiative aims to improve transparency and identify areas where surplus food can be redistributed, further minimising food waste across the supply chain.

Find out more about how Severn Trent Green Power recycles food waste.

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