RWM News: WRAP Food Waste Strategy | RDF Exports & Engaging Gov

Day two of RWM in partnership with CIWM has seen interesting debate around RDF exports, domestic waste infrastructure and food waste prevention.

The theme of Marcus Gover’s keynote speech in the Circular Economy Connect Theatre was a call to join WRAP in the food waste fight, as he announced a new phase in the organisation’s consumer food waste prevention strategy.

The new phase will focus on catalysing change through multiple partner action; and bringing a more targeted approach to food waste prevention in the UK.

WRAP’s CEO called for all local and national networks of like-minded people and organisations to join WRAP, and be part of joined up nation-wide action to help citizens cut food waste in the home.

Marcus Gover – “We’ve had good success with Love Food Hate Waste and a broad-brush approach in the past, cutting household food waste by 12%, but it’s clear we need to concentrate on the finer details now”

Since first making the case for greater unity in the fight against food waste in January, Marcus outlined how WRAP has devoted time to re-evaluating, re-focusing and researching further the triggers of household food waste.

These new insights have helped refresh a more targeted approach, and WRAP now wants to work with partners to concentrate on the most wasted food products, and engage with people who generate the most waste.

Initial focus will be on two common behaviours in the home that can spark food waste: buying the right amount of food, and storing food to make it last longer.

Marcus explains, “We’ve had good success with Love Food Hate Waste and a broad-brush approach in the past, cutting household food waste by 12%, but it’s clear we need to concentrate on the finer details now.

“A new approach is required, and we’ve developed a more targeted phase in our strategy for specific behaviours and foods through more precise understanding of the subtleties at play.”

WRAP will first engage with the 18-34 age group for whom life changes such as moving away from the family home, taking their first job, becoming responsible for their own upkeep and starting families can be triggers for food waste. WRAP found that this age group wastes more food than others, largely due to busy lifestyles with ever changing arrangements – issues closely related to food waste.

WRAP is preparing a series of toolkits comprising consumer insights and communications materials, which partners can adapt for their own use – tailored to their own campaigns.

WRAP is currently in conversations with retailers about in-store pilots to help shoppers waste less. The sustainability body is working with businesses on technical changes on product labelling and design, and will publish new industry guidance for food labelling later in the year – in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, and Defra.

93% Of Seminar Visitors Believe Sector Is Approaching A Capacity Gap

Visitors to the Energy From Waste Theatre at RWM in partnership with CIWM this morning where asked whether they believe the UK is heading for a waste infrastructure capacity gap.

93% of respondents were of the opinion it is.

The session, entitled: “The international RDF trade debate: Are UK feedstocks wasting away?”, saw speakers, including Prof Margaret Bates (pictured top), CIWM President, and Harriet Parke, senior consultant at Eunomia, discuss waste infrastructure, RDF exports and the policy horizon, with the UK leaving the EU.

Regarding the capacity gap, Margaret’s main message was that if the UK has sufficient capacity “why are we exporting”?

She said exporting is a problem because the country is paying to “get rid of resources” and then buying back the energy produced from those resources.

Eunomia’s Harriet answered the question in the session title directly, saying the UK’s feedstocks are not wasting away, which she says is evident in the 9m tonnes of waste that is still landfilled.

This was agreed with by Ralf Schopwinkel, Development Director at Geminor Ltd, who said the European markets “desperately” need the UK’s feedstock and that generally the country’s quality is good.

Margaret and Harriet agreed the UK needs steer from government and also better data to determine a clearer picture of waste arisings to calculate a more accurate picture of future EfW capacity, and a more strategic approach when it comes to building EfW plants.

It was generally agreed that the sector needs to speak with “one voice” to engage government. Margaret questioned why this isn’t happening. She said the resources sector “innovates constantly” and has a lot to offer. Ralph said this is actually a “global issue” and the UK is not alone.

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