BBIA will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday 14 May 2020 at 2-3pm on the future of food waste collections in the UK, drawing on the experience of Italy.

Ten years ago, Italy passed a world first law to oblige local authorities and operators to collect household and business food waste “either with no packaging or if packaging is used this must be certified compostable according to the standard EN13432”.

The law was passed upon request of the Italian composting and biogas industries that were unable to handle the increasing levels of plastic contamination arriving with rising volumes of food waste. Food and garden waste collections for composting and anaerobic digestion (AD) rose from 300,000 tonnes in 2000 to over seven million tonnes today, two thirds of which is food waste.

According to the Environment Agency (EA), over 100,000 of microplastics are deposited to soil from compost, digestate and sewage sludge due to plastics entering the treatment system as inputs.

As the EA discusses with local authorities, waste operators and the AD and composting industry in England issues related to reducing plastic waste both in inputs arriving at plants and in outputs going to soil, we look at the decade of Italian experience and try to understand what learnings we can take from it and what specific challenges the UK has to overcome. We will also look into the cost/benefits of such a system.

We will hear from examples of other EU countries that have opted for the same Italian model whilst speakers from England will illustrate their options, opportunities and challenges in facing the threat of being overwhelmed by plastic waste. Household and business food waste collections are set to become obligatory after 2023 and one of the most pressing issues is how to ensure this has beneficial rather than negative impacts on the industry and soil quality.

Speakers include

Chair: David Newman, Managing Director BBIA

Marco Ricci, Technical Expert, Italian Compost and Biogas Association (CIC) / Chair of the International Solid Waste Association Working Group on Biowaste.

Marco will talk about the Italian system as well as examples of high-quality food waste collections schemes from around Europe.

Wilbert Smeets, SESA, Technical Director of four Italian plants in northern Italy that treat a total of 1 million tonnes of food waste annually.

Susanne Lindeneg, Technical Advisor for waste issues at the City of Copenhagen Council

Kathy Nichols, Senior Advisor, Environment Agency

Rebecca Thompson, Senior Policy Manager, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA)

Jenny Grant, Organics Recycling and Biogas Groups Manager – Scotland, the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA)


Participation is free and you can register to join the webinar here.