Jamie Hailstone 08 August 2017

Energy-from-waste putting pressure on recycling rates, claims report

Energy-from-waste putting pressure on recycling rates, claims report image

A surge in the number of energy-from-waste and incinerator plants being built in the UK could limit recycling rates, according to a new report.

The latest version of Eunomia’s Residual Waste Infrastructure Review predicts if all the energy-from-waste and incinerator facilities in the country were to operate at full capacity, they would limit the UK’s recycling rate to 63%.

According to the report, the UK has more than doubled its residual waste treatment capacity since 2009-10, which has increased from 6.3 million tonnes to 13.5 million tonnes.

But over the same period, the amount of non-recyclable waste suitable for treatment has fallen from an estimated 30 million tonnes per annum to around 26 million.

‘Our latest report shows that the UK continues inexorably towards the point where we have more residual waste treatment capacity than we need,’ said report author, Harriet Parke.

‘If facilities already in construction are built, and only these, we think the UK could still recycle some 63%  of waste, but if just 40% of what is in planning was also built, the recycling rate could be further limited to 57%.’

But the executive director of the Environmental Services Association, Jacob Hayler, said the findings in Eunomia’s report are flawed and have been ‘contradicted by report after report from everyone else who’s looked at our residual waste treatment needs’.

‘The consensus position on waste treatment is that we will end up over five million tonnes short of energy from waste capacity by 2030. This is what the government needs to understand if it is not to sleepwalk into a capacity crisis,’ said Hayler.

According to Shlomo Dowen, national coordinator of the UK Without Incineration Network,: 'Most reports on residual waste treatment capacity are commissioned by companies with a financial stake in investment in new waste incineration capacity, whereas Eunomia's reports are more independent.

'Eunomia's latest report confirms that we will soon have more incineration capacity than residual waste. However, this understates the problem because much of what is currently described as 'residual waste' can actually be recycled or composted.

'We already have more incineration capacity than we will have genuinely residual waste to burn, and so have already reached 'overcapacity' in the UK. We need to be recycling our waste, not wasting millions of pounds building yet more incinerators that will be redundant in a Circular Economy.'

Safely into school image

Safely into school

How many plans can be made when it comes to transport to education settings? Liz Davidson reports.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Communication & Engagement Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£36711 - £39774 per annum
The coronavirus pandemic has touched every aspect of the work councils do, and we're on the front line as the country recovers. Businesses need suppor England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Events and Project Administrator

Essex County Council
£20604.0 - £22664 per annum
Please note this position is to be offered on a 2 year, fixed term basis Interviews expected to be held 20/10/2020 for successfully shortlisted candid England, Essex, Braintree
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Social Worker - Adults Social Care

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£31,869 - £38,616
This is a very exciting time to join the team as we are currently going through a major re- design of our service. London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Newly Qualified Social Worker (ASYE)

Barnet London Borough Council
£30,711 Per Annum
Do you want to make a difference to the lives of children and their families? Colindale, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Regeneration Delivery Manager - Heritage Action Zone

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42.684 - £45.585
This role requires experience of project managing and delivering heritage-focused schemes involving the built environment, an understanding of... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue