What Is ‘Waste-To-Energy’?

1st July 2015

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We think of waste as filling up landfill sites and causing a blight on the landscape whilst releasing dangerous methane and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, but are you aware of the term waste-to-energy? In a nutshell, it is what it says because waste is turned into electricity, heat and fuel, but how does this happen?

Incineration has been around since the first incinerator, or destructor, was opened in Nottingham in 1874 but since then technology has come a log way and the historical reality of ash and chemicals released in the burning process being strewn across nearby towns is thankfully no longer the case. In fact, EU regulations are strict about emission standards of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxides, heavy metals and dioxins.


Around 23% of renewable energy in the UK now comes from waste-to-energy sources, which is the equivalent to around 100,000,000 standard lightbulbs! The volume of waste is reduced by around 95% when incinerated and where historically that was where the process ended, you can see that so much more is now done with that waste.

There are fears surrounding waste-to-energy, which generally seem to focus on the idea that people will recycle less if they know that energy is being produced. That said, most people are aware on at least some level of the hierarchy of waste, which places recycling higher that energy production and countries such as Sweden and Austria have some of the highest incineration rates in Europe as well as some of the highest recycling rates so the evidence does seem to suggest that these fears are largely unfounded.

The fact is that companies and households alike are adapting their waste management systems in order to be more economical and this is great, but general waste does still exist and the creation of  energy from this is a better option that burying it at landfill.

Call one of our experts at 707 Resource Management today to talk about your needs and make your company more efficient with it’s waste management plans.

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