When COVID-19 hit, the volume of organic waste requiring treatment reduced dramatically and practically overnight as businesses, hotels, restaurants, bars, and HWRCs across the country closed their doors and local authorities were forced to pause non-essential services. Now, more than four months later, local authority services have stabilised, and commercial and industrial business are tentatively restarting. So, what have we learned and how has the organic waste stream been affected during those four long months, and what does the future hold for this complex stream?
Organic waste is a key contributor towards recycling targets for many organisations due to its density and high recyclability rate. Add to this the circular solutions available and this waste stream quickly becomes one of the most important for the sector in terms of maintaining natural capital and biodiversity for which it is fair to say, it is not given enough credit for. To this extent, we need to get the future management of this sector right and raise the profile of its benefits to society.
With regulatory changes on the horizon which aim to increase quantity with standardised collections and quality measures, there will be opportunities for the organics sector to grow, but in order to realise these, some of the issues will need to be addressed first. With reduced feedstock volumes and no hope of new, coupled with capacity issues, the rising cost of landbanks and declining income, this stream needs a shake-up!
Does a slower recovery from COVID-19 present the perfect opportunity for improvements and changes to be made, to build back stronger? And can sector standards and compliance be improved and maintained in the shorter term, so as to meet European targets? And what investment does the sector need in order to prepare for mandatory food collections, due to arrive in 2023/4?
Join our expert panel as they explore the challenges and opportunities facing this complex and key waste stream in our journey to a circular economy, and discuss the future growth of the organics sector.