LONDON, United Kingdom (September 13, 2023) – enfinium, a leading UK energy from waste operator, today publishes a manifesto for the sector highlighting the need to reduce waste, process the waste we have more effectively, and roll out Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) widely to support the government’s net zero target.
In the new report, “A vision for the future of UK waste”, published today, the firm sets out its commitment to play a leadership role in the UK’s journey to a cleaner, zero carbon future and calls on government to enact a policy framework to achieve this.
Mike Maudsley, CEO of enfinium, said: “Despite long-term efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, the UK has never produced more waste. We also do not deal with our waste effectively enough and too much is either sent to climate-damaging landfill, or shipped overseas. This needs to change.
“With the support of government, we believe the UK can both reduce its waste footprint, while making better use of the waste that cannot be recycled. Diverting more waste from landfill and overseas will increase the UK’s homegrown energy generation which, when coupled with carbon capture technology, will remove carbon from the atmosphere and make a material contribution to achieving Net Zero by 2050.”
The measures called for include an end to new EfW facilities without CCS from 2025, an end to both combustible waste going to climate-damaging landfill and waste exports from 2028, and increased transparency for consumers on the waste footprint of products.
The report highlights a number of areas in the waste system that are not currently fit for purpose, and lead to an attitude among many that waste can be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. These include:
To address these challenges, and to ensure policy is joined-up ahead of the inclusion of energy from waste in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2028, enfinium has called for a package of measures. These will provide certainty to the sector, the right information to consumers, and encourage private investment in technology such as CCS:
The opportunity presented in the report is huge. Not only would the energy from waste ‘plants of the future’ process the remaining waste – which cannot be eliminated through reduce, reuse or recycle – they would provide secure jobs, home grown energy and could increase the amount of carbon captured in the UK by 20% by 2050.4
Statistical information and sources
1 Methane’s global warming potential is roughly 80 times greater per tonne emitted than carbon dioxide over 20 years (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, “Environmental Improvement Plan 2023”, p. 155, available here).
2 A 2020 report from WRAP estimates that 0.6Mt of recovered plastic was exported in 2020 (WRAP, “Plastics Market Situation Report 2021”, p. 15, available here). The Defra Select Committee report notes that 60% of plastic waste is exported (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, “The price of plastic: ending the toll of plastic waste”, p. 40, November 2022, available here).
4 Energy Systems Catapult, “Energy from Waste Plants with Carbon Capture”, May 2020, available here.
enfinium is one of the largest energy from waste businesses in the UK and is an industry leader in the conversion of unrecyclable residential and business waste into heat and partially renewable power. enfinium currently has a platform of six (two in construction) strategically located facilities across the UK. Today, enfinium has an annual waste processing capacity of over 2.3 million tonnes, and a total combined electric generating capacity of 265MW (gross) — enough energy to power more than 500,000 UK homes. For more on enfinium, please visit www.enfinium.co.uk.