AMDEA Position

AMDEA FWD Group believes that Food Waste Disposers (FWDs) can play a crucial role in helping central and local government meet their waste management obligations. 

The increased adoption of FWDs in the UK would successfully address the challenges of a particularly difficult waste stream, that can present health hazards to the population if mismanaged. Its mixed, wet, organic and animal content make it troublesome to store and transport, and costly to process.

FWDs provide a sustainable food waste solution for a variety of situations where people are unable or unwilling to participate in separate kerbside collection or home composting.  These include those living in flats, high-rise buildings and terraced houses (which open straight onto the street) as well as the elderly and infirm.

FWDs are a convenient, hygienic and user friendly solution with the waste separated quickly at the source, which encourages citizens to capture far more of this waste stream. They can grind practically all food waste to minute particles that are easily carried away by the wastewater system, directly to wastewater treatment and anaerobic digestion (AD) plants.

The Government is committed to delivering a huge increase in Energy from Waste (EfW) through anaerobic digestion (AD). FWDs enhance the extraction of sustainable value from waste.   Studies in Sweden have shown that adding the foodwaste output of FWDs to the sewage waste stream can increase biogas capture by as much as 46%.

Additionally, fertilizer is also produced from the sewage sludge and the output of FWDs offers the opportunity to conserve important nutrients such as phosphates that are present in our food.

FWDs have a good carbon footprint. Their energy and water use is minimal.  Field studies show that the base load electricity generated from each device is around  76 kWh  a year, which is 25 times more than each device uses (about 2-3 kWh/household per year). Their low water usage is equivalent to approximately one extra toilet flush (6 litres), per household. FWD output is transported and treated using existing channels and infrastructure so, unlike separate kerbside collection, they reduce traffic on the road network, emissions and the use of additional fossil fuel.  At the end of life (approximately 12 years) they comprise primarily metal components and are 95% recyclable.

In order for the Government to meet their target of zero domestic waste to landfill AMDEA believes they should consider a policy of incentives to encourage householders to recycle their food waste and a strategy to motivate the installation of food waste disposers which has proved economically and environmentally successful in Sweden.