Guide

How to manage organic waste

How to recycle your organic waste

Once you have implemented measures for reducing and reusing organic waste, the next step is to recycle organic waste that is left. This usually requires you to separate different types of waste.

Organic waste is not always welcomed by waste management businesses because:

  • wet wastes such as food wastes are liable to decay and can cause smells
  • wet wastes present a high pollution risk - particularly to water
  • natural degradation can make landfill unstable
  • uncontrolled production of landfill gas is hazardous and damaging to the environment
  • it can be costly to transport

However, there are a number of relatively straightforward methods to treat organic material for recycling. On-site treatment of organic waste can substantially and quickly reduce the amount of waste material and the cost of disposal. If treated fully and appropriately organic waste can become a valuable resource as compost, energy or fertiliser.

However, if your business processes food or is involved in catering you cannot risk creating problems such as microbial hazards or odour. On-site solutions must, therefore, be both safe and 'biosecure' - preventing biological contamination and the spread of infectious organisms.

Regulatory issues with organic waste

Various environmental regulations determine what organic waste you can recycle. The Animal By-Products Regulations are key and you should check how these apply to you. The rules also vary depending on whether you are:

  • processing your own waste
  • processing and exporting products
  • getting someone else to process your waste for you

Since organic waste is highly regulated, it is important to understand whether:

  • your treatment choices comply with current legislation
  • anyone to whom you transfer waste is using appropriate technology

There are significant costs associated with any method of disposal as well as substantial penalties for being ill-informed, so there can be real cost benefits in modern treatment, recycling and waste reduction.