From January 2006, the all UK food catering, manufacturing and retail food companies must treat before disposal any waste, including dairy products, that contain or has been in contact with rawmeat. The EU-wide animal by-products directive went into force for all other EU members at the start of this year, but the UK received a concession allowing its industry to continue the practice until1 January 2006.
About 80 per cent of companies surveyed in Yorkshire and Humberside do not recycle their food waste and, of those who do, fewer than three per cent use innovative techniques in disposal processing,according to the Yorkshire Forward Centres of Industrial Collaboration (CICs).
The CIC, a food research unit at the University of Leeds, is holding a conference on handling food waste 22 September.
Currently all raw meat and fish from industrial waste must be burned in the UK. All other animal food waste may go into landfill.
However Merlin (Environmental) Ltd. says it has developed a process for EU companies who want to convert food waste into a power that can be used as energy.
The company uses US technology converted to conform to EU standards. The output is a sterile biomass powder that can be used as a fuel for power stations or cement kilns. The power can also be usedas an additive to soil or compost.
As a fuel, the output is similar to burning coal. As a compost the additive is high in nitrogen, the company stated.
"The established European market for food waste is only partially satisfied by existing processes which have the disadvantages of either high cost or are technologically insecure for thiswaste stream," the company stated.
Each Merlin plant can process 150,000 tonnes of food waste per annum. The Merlin process can save companies an estimated £15 per tonne when compared with incineration. The process requires a 1industrialbuilding of about 2300 sq. m.