An article by journalist Kate Youde, entitled UK may have to import rubbish for incinerators has been published in today’s Independent on Sunday (1st August 2010).

The article notes that:

Improved recycling rates mean that we may not have enough garbage to feed planned new plants

The Independent on Sunday reports that:

Environmental groups are demanding an end to the building of new waste incinerators, which they say will undermine recycling. Experts question whether Britain will produce enough household waste to fuel energy-from-waste plants as the country improves its recycling efforts. And they warn that waste will have to be diverted from sustainable recycling schemes or imported from elsewhere to keep a rash of new planned waste incinerators working…Environmentalists are calling for a moratorium, urging the Government to take a more sustainable approach to waste management.

Evidence shows that incinerators are already depressing recycling and composting rates in the UK and in other parts of Europe, and the article refers to the situation in Hampshire where Veolia operate three waste incinerators:

In Hampshire, where the Veolia waste contractor operates three incinerators, a shortage of municipal waste has already led the company to seek to vary the plants’ planning conditions to allow them to process more commercial waste and, potentially, import waste from outside the county. A county council spokeswoman denied the incinerators would impact on recycling. However, only one of the county’s 14 local authorities recycles domestic food waste – the rest incinerate it.

The article goes on to explain how Gill Weeks, of the Environmental Services Association, the trade body representing the UK’s waste management industry, claimed there was particular overcapacity in Germany and the Netherlands, with other EU member states exporting waste there.

UKWIN is aware of plans to send waste from the UK to Germany to provide feedstock for their incinerators.

Incinerators compete with recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion (AD) for feedstock, and waste contracts often lock councils into supplying minimum tonnages of waste for incinerators even when the material should be recycled or composted instead.

UKWIN is currently gathering evidence that will be submitted as part of the Government’s current waste review. If you have evidence that existing or proposed incinerators are displacing recycling and composting schemes, including the prevention of separate collection of food waste for anaerobic digestion, please pass this on to UKWIN Coordinator Shlomo Dowen.

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