Bio-waste: acting together

A third of all household waste materials are bio-waste to which must be added a significant quantity coming from larger organizations. Hence, the cost and impact of this resource must be addressed. Following the new regulations governing composting, the new framework of energy transition law sends another strong signal. The reduction of bio-waste materials and of their landfilling, the improvement of the material recycling rate, the generalization of source sorting before 2025 are new objectives. Minutes of Workshop 9 of the Assises.

How can this resource be exploited? It all started in the agro-food industry where high methane-producing materials are abundant. But the scattered flows of households, restaurants and food distribution industry waste must also be taken into consideration.

Influencing the behaviour of companies

The ways food products are produced, transformed, distributed and consumed must be reconsidered. The way private companies manage their products and waste materials – broken, unsold, gifts to associations, recycling – need to be examined since companies still have a wide margin for improvement as this is not their core business. A new business model must be initiated throughout the supply chain with all the stakeholders in order to lower the quantities while enabling the collection companies and the waste-producing companies to be profitable and improve their image. The employees should become ambassadors to raise the awareness of the citizens even within the company.

Actions targeting individuals and households

It is difficult to have an impact on complex scattered flows. In addition to the usual communication strategies, other approaches should be developed. In that respect, the North London Waste Authority implements a very pragmatic and progressive support strategy: "It does not matter if we don’t explain everything immediately: it is preferable to provide bits of information that people will be able to memorise. This information is also adapted to their way of life and environment, to their local constraints and to the wishes of those who can influence their behaviour”. This is a very Anglo-Saxon choice i.e. to ‘’start slowly, assess, learn from mistakes and pool successes’’.

Innovation in waste collection and territory-based approach

Success models may be found in local initiatives, territory-based projects – composting, selective collection, methane production from agricultural waste, the combination of several solutions, etc. Yet, solutions are still needed to deal with animal by-products. At the local level, there is a need for coordination between the players and stakeholders in different domains.

In order to reduce and recycle bio-waste, there is still a need for awareness raising at every levels. All the operators, regardless of their roles and levels, could take inspiration from pioneering experiences and try to apply them at a larger scale as per local characteristics. Mobilisation must be leveraged to involve the territories, and turn "individual objectives into converging interests".

> Read also the summary of the workshop: Bio-waste : get all the stakeholders around the table.

Assises Nationales des Déchets

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