Azara Blog: Incineration to be increased in Britain

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Date published: 2006/01/17

The BBC says:

Ministers are preparing to back a large increase in the amount of rubbish that is incinerated instead of being buried, according to documents seen by the BBC.

An environment department paper, to be published next month, suggests the proportion of burned waste could rise from 9% to 25% in the next 15 years.

It urges making "energy from waste", a process in which incinerators are used to power electricity generation plants.

Friends of the Earth labelled as "myth" claims refuse can provide green energy.

The BBC's rural affairs correspondent, Tom Heap, said ministers were keen to stress their priority was to minimise the amount of waste created in the first place.

He said government plans could be summed up as: "If you must [create waste] then preferably recycle it, failing that burn it to make electricity, and only bury what is left."

Ministers believed more burning was justified as it provided a green source of energy, reduced our dependence on foreign fuel, and health risks from emissions were small, our correspondent said.

But Michael Warhurst, of Friends of the Earth, said Britons should be concentrating on recycling more and burning less.

"Incinerators are extremely inefficient generators of energy, producing more carbon dioxide per unit of energy than an old-fashioned coal-fired power station.

"The government should tackle the UK's waste crisis by reducing the amount we generate and ensuring a huge expansion in recycling."

Hmmm, it's amusing to see FoE so keen on "recycling". Perhaps they could inform the public how much energy is wasted to do that, as a comparison with incineration. And you have to laugh, they always use the word "crisis" for everything. Their only sane comment is the one about "reducing the amount we generate". Recycling is a bogus concept adored by the middle classes (such as the FoE) because it means they can produce as much waste as they want as long as they then bundle it up tidily so that the State can take it off their hands and "recycle" it. (And in Cambridge, "recycling" plastic currently means shipping the stuff to China, and who knows what happens to it there. Perhaps incinerated. Perhaps just dumped in landfill.) Incineration is almost certainly one necessary part of the waste equation, and simple-minded dogma should not be allowed to get in the way. The government, for once, is on the right path. The one thing that will stop incineration are the NIMBYs of Britain.

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