New food waste law for food businesses in Northern Ireland

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The new law took effect from 1st April 2016

A new law in Northern Ireland, under the ‘Food Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015’, came into effect on 1st April 2016, requiring food businesses to now separate and recycle all of their food waste.

From the above date, all food businesses in Northern Ireland have to separate, recycle and arrange for the collection of their food waste if their business produces 50 kilograms or more each week. If the new law is not adhered to, fines will be handed out, ranging from a £300 fixed-penalty notice, to fines of £10,000 if you continue to disregard the new law.

A ‘food business’ is described by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as ‘an undertaking, whether carried on for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any activity related to the processing, distribution, preparation or sale of food’. This guideline therefore includes cafés, restaurants, hotels, schools, nursing homes and supermarkets.

Food businesses also have to follow a duty on business regulation, making sure that their food waste is not disposed of via drains or sewers from the 1st April 2017 and from this date, food businesses that produce more than 5 kilograms of food waste will be made to follow the same separate and recycle laws.

Guidance suggests that all food businesses ensure they separate and store their food waste before arranging for collection, preferably by a waste management service company.

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