As the cost of landfill has risen, local authorities and waste management companies in Britain have been driven to explore alternative means of waste disposal. One solution has been the production and export of a basic waste-derived fuel made from residual materials that cannot be recycled. It’s called refuse derived fuel or RDF for short.
It’s this fuel that we use every day in our energy from waste plant at Belvedere. However the UK does not have enough energy from waste plants to treat this waste stream exclusively on our shores. As a result, it is forecast that around 4 million tonnes of RDF will be exported to energy from waste plants across Europe in 2016.
saved by not sending
waste to landfill
This is not a sustainable solution to managing our waste arisings, as firstly we pay Europe to take our waste and then we pay them again when we buy back the energy end product. 2.8 million MWh of baseload electricity is lost from UK energy supply of transporting RDF abroad. This is equivalent to powering c.850,000 homes per annum. As well as being economically unsound we think that this practice is environmentally irresponsible and wasteful of the UK’s resources. Transporting an indigenous fuel supply to ports across the UK and then shipping it across to the continent adds a significant amount to the UK’s carbon footprint and simply does not make any sense.
While we are proud to play our own small part in securing the UK’s domestic energy supply, we believe that the increasing levels of waste being exported, the absence of sufficient treatment capacity in the UK, and the inherent energy value in the waste stream, means that the Government should encourage investment in UK energy from waste through a range of fiscal measures to mitigate risk and manage growth.