legislation_image1Under the Waste Strategy 2000, the UK Government has strict goals to meet for the recycling or composting of household waste for England and Wales. Under the EU Landfill Directive, the UK and other member states also have to meet targets for the reduction of biodegradable municipal waste sent for landfill. By 2020 the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent for landfill must be reduced to 35% of the amount produced in 1995.

Composting is seen as a vital tool for achieving these targets.

Animal by-products: Catering waste & waste food of animal origin

Animal by-products (ABPs) wastes arise typically from food processing and manufacturing plants, distribution premises, wholesale & retail outlets, food markets and catering facilities (including household kitchens) . All of these become ABPs when they are no longer intended for human consumption.

Stringent regulations apply to the processing of ABPs. European legislation (1774/2002) sets out for the collection, transport, storage, handling, processing and use or disposal of all ABPs. These rules are administered and enforced in the UK by the Animal By-Products Regulations (ABPR) 2005.

There are three categories of ABP based on their potential risk to animals, the public or the environment. The Regulations clearly state how each category must or may be disposed of. The EU ABP Regulation permits the use of composting for catering waste and Category 3 animal by-products. Category 3 material is the lowest risk category. It includes raw meat that has passed meat inspection, waste from food manufacturers and food retailers, eggs and certain other by-products which do not show signs of transmissible disease. Category 3 material cannot be taken to landfill but can be disposed of via In Vessel Composting (IVC).

Catering waste that does not contain meat and does not come from premises handling meat is not controlled by the Regulation.

Animal by-products: Composting

The ABP Regulation permits the treatment of low-risk (category 3) ABP in an approved composting plant.

EU ABPR Regulation

ABP need to be treated to the EU standard set out in the Regulation, which is treatment at 70°C for 1 hour, with a maximum particle size of 12mm. Alternative treatment standards that differ from the current EU standard have been introduced in 2007. Alternative treatment standards must demonstrate capability to meet a specified level of pathogen reduction.

legislation_image2The UK national standards

The proposed UK national standards are based on a matrix approach, to reflect the risk assessment’s requirement for multiple barriers. All systems must be able to meet a minimum time/temperature standard (related to the type of system being used). These standards also specify the maximum particle size that may be processed in that system. As well as the time/temperature requirement, all systems must include additional barriers, as explained in the attached diagram (Click here for the  PDF file: Europa letterhead ABP Regs Flow Chart)

The VCU system has been successfully adopted for treatment on sites that are accredited to both of the above processing parameters in the United Kingdom (in England, Scotland & N.Ireland), Spain and Finland. Outside of Europe the VCU has been approved in Australia and New Zealand.