New study reveals the real economic benefit of separate biowaste collections

Biotonne (Foto: Kroll /

Bristol, UK — A mandatory requirement to separate biowaste could be introduced without significant costs to businesses or councils. A new study explored the net costs of source separation in England, and highlighted the potential for both direct and indirect savings – as well as a significant contribution to the UK’s recycling rate. The report also examined whether the effect of mandatory source separation could be achieved without the need for new legislation.

The study was commissioned by the Renewable Energy Association, funded by Olleco and published by Eunomia. It examines the net costs of introducing measures to mandate source separation of biowaste by councils and businesses in England.

The aim of a mandatory requirement to separate biowaste would be to greatly increase the extent of separate collections. This would bring both environmental and economic opportunities, and contribute to increasing the UK’s recycling rate. Separate collections would also be likely to yield savings. These may be direct savings that come from lower treatment costs for separate food waste, or indirect savings that the introduction of separate collections allows, such as changes to residual waste collection frequency.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Requiring food businesses to take up separate collections will increase the efficiency of food waste collection services, bringing down the costs and improving the business case for all food waste producers to take up separate collections.
  • Based on WRAP data, for authorities where weekly residual waste collections are currently in place, a move to weekly separate food waste collections and fortnightly residual waste appears to consistently lead to considerable savings, without any other changes to the waste and recycling system.
  • For authorities where fortnightly residual waste collections are already in place, the introduction of food waste collections alongside other service changes is likely to lead to savings.
  • Whilst new regulations requiring source separation of food waste by councils and food businesses have proven to be an effective tool in Scotland, it may be possible to achieve the same benefit without the need for new law in England.

This report is available free of charge and can be downloaded under

Source: Eunomia Research & Consulting Ltd