Packaging company DS Smith’s White Paper ‘One Step Away from Zero Waste‘ includes a call for an incineration tax and a recognition of incineration as a barrier to the circular economy.

The report states:

  • “Increasing landfill tax and introducing an incineration tax would do much to highlight the true value of resources as well as considering tax rebates on goods made from recycled content.”
  • “Activities at the bottom of the waste hierarchy including waste to energy and landfill are often replacing recycling and resource reuse as a method of handling waste materials which is completely contrary to a sustainable circular economy environment and mean significant and unnecessary costs are incurred.”
  • “Most importantly of all, businesses mustn’t allow waste to energy to become the ‘new landfill’. Instead of directing waste to waste to energy and landfill sites, industry needs to recognise the cost, environmental and sustainable benefits of turning these materials back into something useful once more.”

As reported in May 2014, DS Smith’s evidence to EFRACOM’s inquiry into Waste Management in England stated that: “…processing materials through thermal treatment plants is not recycling and therefore should not count towards the country’ recycling rates. It has a negative impact on recycling and does not follow the principles of the waste hierarchy.”

Going further back, DS Smith Recycling’s Jim Malone stated in July 2013 that: “If we, as an industry and as a nation, walk blindly towards accepting incineration as a solution for the volumes of badly sorted recyclate rather than challenge our existing collection and sorting models then I consider this a form of environmental vandalism… I passionately believe this is the wrong path and we must not walk blindfold[ed] into a new resource wasting trap.”

Hopefully, DS Smith will now reconsider their collaboration with Wheelabrator on the 550ktpa SRF-burning merchant incinerator near the DS Smith Paper site at Kemsley Mill in Kent that is due to be operational in 2018.

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