The Real Economic Benefit of Separate Biowaste Collections

A business case

View the report

Executive Summary

Biowaste, comprising food and garden waste, presents a significant opportunity to boost recycling and reduce the environmental impact of waste. Garden waste is widely recycled, both by households and the businesses that produce it. But despite significant policy developments in Wales and Scotland, the UK as a whole currently recycles just 10% of household food waste, and many food businesses do not recycle their food waste at all.

This study, funded by Olleco and commissioned by the Renewable Energy Association, examines the net costs of introducing measures to mandate source separation of food waste by councils and businesses. The aim of a mandatory requirement to separate biowaste would be to greatly increase the extent of separate collections in England, bringing both environmental and economic opportunities, and contributing to increasing the UK’s recycling rate.

Separate food waste collection would also be likely to yield savings. These may be direct savings that come from lower treatment costs for separate food waste, or indirect savings that the introduction of separate collections allows, such as changes to residual waste collection frequency. The question is – would they offset the cost of collecting the material separately?