New legislation is due to come into force which will make the use of food macerators in commercial kitchens illegal in England and Wales at the start of 2018. This follows on from the examples set in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where they were outlawed in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Food waste disposal units have been fitted underneath sinks for decades, and were originally thought of a simple way of disposing of food which would otherwise have been disposed of in a bin.
Of course, with food recycling now the norm in both commercial and domestic kitchens, macerators have had their day, especially as they’ve been shown to contribute to environmental problems all around us.
The UK’s sewerage system, whose infrastructure was largely designed and built by the Victorians, simply isn’t meant to carry food waste. Scraps from commercial macerators, added to fat being poured down drains by catering establishments is a big contributor to a staggering 200,000 sewer blockages and floods each year across the country.
The cost of the clean up and repair operations to the UK’s water utilities is £15 million per annum, costs which are passed onto consumers, with even more being spent on the issue with private sector drainage companies.
Further to this, drain and sewer blockages encourage rodents, odours and environmental pollution to thrive, and with macerators notorious for becoming clogged up and in need of expensive repair – as well as using more electricity and water than recycling – the argument for a more modern approach to dealing with food waste is clear.
Nothing is wasted when food is recycled. Whether it’s transformed into nutrient-packed compost, or the biogas which anaerobic digestion gives off is converted into electricity, a combination of stopping macerator use and diverting food waste away from landfill is a small but important step towards cleaning up the UK.
Of course, this means that if you currently use a macerator for disposing of food, you’re going to need a new solution for dealing with your waste.
Fresh Start are a forward-thinking waste management company covering the whole of the North West of England, emptying 100,000 food bins per year, and recycling 7,000 tonnes of food waste into useful resources.