Mark Sommerfeld, Policy Manager of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said:

“Energy from Waste continues to have a crucial role to play within the context of the waste hierarchy and broader waste management system. Over the last two decades, energy from waste has meant that materials that were unable to be recycled have been actively diverted from landfill, resulting in significant reductions in both the methane and carbon emissions associated with waste management activities.  

“Looking towards the future, innovation in the sector will also see it contribute to the decarbonisation of hard to treat sectors, with UK companies now developing commercial projects that turn rubbish into renewable transport fuels (including for aviation), heat and green chemicals. When combined with carbon capture and storage, the sector further provides a pathway to negative emissions, which sees carbon actively removed from the carbon cycle, identified as of critical strategic importance by the Climate Change Committee.

“Rather than calling for an end to energy from waste infrastructure, there needs to be cross stakeholder engagement on how a comprehensive waste management system, in line with the circular economy, can be delivered. This certainly includes increased government investment in recycling facilities and ambitious programmes to reduce waste volumes, but at the same time acknowledge that energy from waste will continue to play an important role in dealing with waste that can’t be recycled and would otherwise end up in the ground.”