Should Mandatory Composting Become the New Recycling?

Composting is the recycling of organic wastes such as food wastes and vegetation. Composting massively reduces the waste that goes to landfill, similar to recycling. A wide variety of different types of waste can be recycled and used as materials for brand-new products. There are only a small amount of materials that cannot be recycled compared to the amount that can, but the question is – can mandatory composting be the next step to a greener planet?


Facts by DEFRA

  • It is estimated that over 8 million people in the UK struggle to afford food to eat, yet UK households throw away 20% of all foods purchased, adding up to around 7 million tonnes a year. It is a lot!
  • All of the food waste people throw away in the UK sets them back around £700 a year. Of the 7 million tonnes thrown away, 250,000 tonnes is perfectly edible and could be used to make up to 650 million meals for those in need. We could feed over a billion hungry people with less than a quarter of the food wasted in the UK, the United States, and Europe.
  • 74kg of food waste is thrown away by the average person each year, which weighs more than 1000 banana skins. Overall, the UK throws away 4 million closed bananas, 3 million sealed yoghurts, 600,000 whole eggs (that could be 300,000 omelettes!), 2 million untouched sausages and 20 million slices of bread every single day! It is estimated that we waste more than 30% of all food produced globally.
  • One of the most occurring water pollutants is waste cooking oil! One litre of waste cooking oil can pollute up to 1 million litres of drinking water because of the way it spreads.
  • 25% of the worlds remaining freshwater supply is used to grow food that we will send to landfill. Wrongfully disposing of cooking oil into drainage systems can be harmful to fish, river birds and other wildlife causing devastating effects on the environment
  • At least 50% of food and packaging waste could be composted rather than ending up in landfill. Instead of landfill, the waste could be composted or recycled to make animal feed, or even energy by converting any gasses released into electricity and heat.
  • When food waste is in landfill, it releases methane which is a damaging greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide! Here in the UK, we can reduce our carbon footprint by up to 25% and cut our CO2 emissions by simply recycling or composting our food and packaging waste.

The devastating climate impact due to the current food waste system is surprising to many people, but it is something that can very easily be changed based on the decisions we make every day about the food we buy, consume and throw away. There used to be a time when recycling wasn’t even thought of and now it is a massive part of our everyday lives, influencing marketing, purchasing and disposal decisions we all make daily. We believe that mandatory composting is the next step!

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