She is reminding them that it isn’t just councils and householders who need to change the way they deal with their waste if Wales is to reach its ambition of recycling 70 per cent of its waste by 2025 and becoming zero waste by 2050.
The Minister opened consultation on the Food Manufacture, Service and Retail Sector Plan for waste with a visit to Wales' first commercial-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. The InSource Energy plant at Premier Foods Ltd’s RF Brookes factory near Newport is one of the first in the UK to use waste from food production to create energy to feed back into the production process. It is currently at commissioning stage and will be fully operational this summer.
Anaerobic digestion – which treats food waste to produce a liquid that can be used as a fertiliser and a biogas which can be used as a fuel – is the Assembly Government’s favoured solution for treating food waste. If food waste is buried in landfill sites it produces methane, which as a greenhouse gas has 23 times the environmental impact of carbon dioxide.
The Environment Minister said:
“Wales’ ambition is to recycle 70 per cent of its waste by 2025 and be zero waste by 2050. If we are to achieve this we all need to play our part. The Food Manufacture, Service and Retail plan sets out our proposals for how these sectors can reduce the amount of waste they produce and manage any waste which they do create as sustainable a way as possible.
“Increasing landfill taxes mean that the financial consequences of producing too much waste will continue to grow. For companies of all sizes preventing waste and recycling everything they can makes real business sense, which is why I am urging as many people as possible to help us shape waste policy in Wales by taking part in this consultation.”
The plan proposes that businesses encourage their suppliers to use less packaging, that shops do more to help their customers reduce their waste, and that there is more waste help for small and medium-sized businesses.
One business which has adopted a sustainable approach to waste management is RF Brookes. In three years it has reversed waste costs at its two Welsh sites – going from paying £7,500 a month to receiving a £1,200 rebate, and almost doubled the amount of waste it recycles.
The food manufacture, service and retail sectors together produce 40 per cent of Wales’ commercial and industrial waste. The Food Manufacture, Service and Retail Sector Plan is the third of a series of such plans which sets out exactly what each sector must do to contribute to the waste and recycling targets set out in Wales’ waste plan Towards Zero Waste, which was launched in June 2010. Wales is the only country in the UK to publish detailed plans on how it will recycle 70 per cent of all waste by 2025.
The consultation is open until 22 June 2011.