Azara Blog: UK government wants more waste to be incinerated

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Date published: 2006/02/14

The BBC says:

The government has launched its review into how it plans to tackle the growing problem of waste in England.

Among the proposals is a plan to burn more of the nation's rubbish in an attempt to reduce the amount of refuse ending up in landfill sites.

Environmentalists and local campaign groups are against more incineration plants, saying they will set back efforts to increase recycling rates.

The government is expected to publish its updated strategy later in the year.
One of the proposals calls for greater investment in "energy from waste", a process in which incinerators are used to power electricity generation plants.

It calls for 67% of waste to be recycled, composted or recovered through "energy from waste" schemes by 2015.

The proposal would increase the target for recycling and composting to 45%, with the remaining 22% being met by incineration and other energy recovery methods.

Environmental groups rejected the idea that refuse can provide green energy, calling it a "myth". Friends of the Earth said more effort had to be focused on increasing recycling rates.

"Recycling saves more energy than is created by burning waste," said campaigner Anna Watson.
The group also said burning rubbish increased the risk of local residents being exposed to dioxins - chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer.

The Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN) said energy from waste had to play a role in the government's long term waste management strategy.

"Our cleaner, greener European neighbours have long understood that energy from waste is sensible," said INCPEN director Jan Bickerstaffe.

"Denmark incinerates 58% of its waste, compared to 9% in the UK.

"According to the Environment Agency, more dioxins were emitted in one hour by the millennium fireworks than will be produced by all of the UK's incinerators in 120 years."

That last statistic is amusing if it is (a) true and (b) not misleading. And as usual, the so-called environmentalists harp on about so-called recycling as if it is better for the environment than incineration (or landfill) for all materials. Recycling seems to be loved by the chattering classes since it means they can produce as much waste as they like as long as they hand over enough of it to the State in tidy middle-class bundles. The so-called environmentalists unfortunately have never shown themselves to have a balanced view of the world so their claims have to be largely discounted.

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