Quality Feedstock Resources

This page is dedicated to providing a comprehensive list of resources available to help improve feedstock quality for composting and anaerobic digestion – in other words, to reduce contamination of food and garden/plant wastes. It includes resources for local authorities, for commercial and industrial parties, for communications campaigns, for on-site operations, and on bio-based biodegradable packaging and plastics, particularly those acceptable for feeding into AD and composting processes.

The list of items below is drawn primarily from the Organics Recycling Group (ORG) website, which is now the REA Organics Forum, but also includes third-party resources.

If you have any questions, feedback, or further resources to add, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Collections – Local Authorities

  • WRAP’s household food waste collection guide – This document includes the different options and systems for collecting food waste and highlights issues to consider when planning and implementing a new food waste collection scheme. The guide also provides advice to local authorities with existing weekly separate food waste collections on how to increase participation and capture through effective promotion and communication activities.
  • Guidance on commercial food waste collections – It outlines how collection companies can benefit from improving feedstock quality and practical steps on how it can be achieved.
  • Template food waste collection policy – This provides some examples of practical steps that can be incorporated into your policies and day-to-day operations.
  • WRAP Cost benefit analysis tool – WRAP trials have proven that low cost intervention measures, such as using bin stickers and caddy liners, can increase the amount of household food waste collected for recycling. Designed specially for food waste collectors and processors working jointly, WRAP’s Cost Benefit Analysis tool can help weigh up the costs and associated benefits of implementing those proven intervention measures, based on the specifics of your local arrangements.
  • Keeping plastics out of digestates and composts – Joint position from ADBA and REA covering issues relevant to plastics and biodegradable waste materials supplied for composting or AD treatment, including steps that operators, local authorities and the packaging industry can take to help achieve our aim for plastics-free composts and digestates.
  • REA policy on liners and re-purposed bags for collecting targeted food waste streams from domestic and non-domestic  premises in England from 2023/2024 – Its key criterion calls for separately collected, non-packaged and user-unpackaged food waste, and any co-collected with plant waste, to be presented; a) in plastic or paper liners or repurposed bags independently certified complaint with a specified standard (EN 13432 or EN 13995), b) in a user-made caddy/bin lining made of a re-purposed paper non-bag/non-liner item, or c) loose inside the bin.  This policy is also relevant to non-packaged and user-unpackaged food wastes collected from commercial and industrial sources.

Collections – Commercial and Industrial

Communications

  • Local authority communication business cases – A summary of pilot projects looking at the local business case for adopting common service profiles consistent with the Framework for greater consistency in household recycling in England.
  • Recycle Now Food Waste Collection communications toolkit – Recycle Now has produced a suite of new downloadable and adaptable communication templates for all partners to use when engaging with people on food recycling. The new resources feature leaflets, posters, vehicle livery and much more.
  • Love Food Hate Waste Communications toolkit – Developed by WRAP for partners to use to run their own campaigns with staff or other audiences. The Toolkit is for partners wanting to promote the value of food, the cost of food waste, and the behaviours that can be adopted in the home to tackle the issue. Included in the Toolkit is a host of assets available in English and Welsh, many of which can be adapted to suit your own organisation and office/building locations, including social media assets, posters, leaflet, blogs, videos, etc. They’re also accompanied by a 5 Step Guide that includes recommendations and case study examples to help you run your own campaign for staff using the Toolkit’s assets.

Tenders and contracts

  • ORG’s Input specification template – Input specification schedule template that enables composters and their suppliers to define a standard for the quality and types of input materials delivered to their composting sites – covers green waste only and co-mingled green and food waste.
  • ORG’s position statement – outlines a range of measures that are strongly recommended for compost producers and their waste suppliers to take to minimise problems arising from physical contaminants in feedstock for composting.
  • AfOR guidance for certification bodies on input material requirements – This aims to make clear to the certification bodies auditing composting sites for compliance with PAS 100 details on what types of materials are physical contaminants, aspects of quality management systems which should be carefully checked at PAS 100 inspections, and steps that composters are expected to take to reduce physical contamination in compost.

On site operations

  • ADBA’s AD Certification scheme – The AD Certification Scheme (ADCS) – ADCS is an industry-led initiative which aims to support the AD industry in the UK to improve operational, environmental and health & safety performance. The Scheme is part of ADBA’s wider Best Practice Programme, which also provides: checklist guides on key topics (free to anyone in the industry), other resources and guidance, and training on key topics.
  • Compost industry Code of Practice – The Industry Code of Practice has been developed to assist in the establishment and expansion of composting facilities, of any size, throughout the UK.
  • Visual assessment guidance – guidance aimed at helping composting site operatives to carry out visual assessments of loads of input materials delivered to the site and identify whether a load requires rejection or cleaning up before is shredded and composted, particularly regarding light plastics (e.g. plastic bags).
  • Keeping plastics out of digestates and composts – Joint position from ADBA and REA covering issues relevant to plastics and biodegradable waste materials supplied for composting or AD treatment, including steps that operators, local authorities and the packaging industry can take to help achieve our aim for plastics-free composts and digestates.
  • SEPA report on plastic in food waste at compost sites – A report by SEPA which, following the reduction of the plastic limit for compost and digestates, researched plastic contamination in domestic and commercial food waste received at composting sites and make recommendations for improvement.
  • Permits for treating biowastes – The Environment Agency has been revising its Standard Rules permits for treating biowastes. Their consultation in 2020 proposed ‘a 0.5 % w/w contamination limit on non-biodegradable plastic in the incoming waste’ and that they would ‘only allow plastic that is certified to EN 13432 standard’. REA’s response to this consultation and on their related consultation on permit-underpinning guidance on ‘Appropriate measures for the biological treatment of waste’ included asks relevant to organically recyclable packaging and plastics. We await publication of their revised SR permits and guidance.

Guidance on bio-based and bio-based, biodegradable plastics and packaging

  • Biobased plastics in a circular economy – Policy suggestions for biobased and biobased biodegrabable plastics.
  • PLA in the waste stream – A study on the disposal, sorting, and recycling of bio-based plastics, in particular of PLA, an innovative polymer that is 100 percent bio-based, very versatile, and especially suitable for packaging applications.
  • BBIA reports – The Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association have links to a number of reports on bioplastics, their role in the circular economy, effects on contamination of traditional plastics recycling etc.

N.B.: Bio-based plastics can be designed so they have identical chemical structures to fossil-based, conventionally recyclable plastics.  Alternatively they can be designed to comply with one or more standards that specify their suitability for biodegradation in specific ‘environments’ after use, such as industrial composting (an organic recycling option), industrial digestion followed by composting or aerobic maturation of dewatered digestate fibre (an organic recycling option) or home composting (a waste minimisation option).

Quality products

Composting processes operated as per CQP, PAS 100 and REAL’s Compost Certification Scheme rules: Compostable packaging and plastic products made of biodegradable material are allowed to be fed into such processes only if the packaging/plastic product is independently certified compliant with all composting-relevant parts of BS EN 13432, BS EN 14995 or ASTM D6400.

AD processes operated as per AD QP, PAS 110 and REAL’s Biofertiliser Certification Scheme rules: Biodegradable plastic packaging independently certified to BS EN 13432 or either of the similar standards DIN V 54900 or ASTM D6400 that is used to collect food waste is a biowaste type acceptable for producing quality digestate. It must be removed either prior to or after the digestion process to meet the physical contaminant limit in PAS 110 or any other approved standard. (This aspect of the AD QP would benefit from being updated and is on the list of issues for attention during AD QP revision.)

Case Studies