UK public demand outright ban on waste exports

November 27, 2023 | News Releases

72% believe the UK should be dealing with the waste it creates rather than shipping it overseas

LONDON, United Kingdom – Today, enfinium, a leading UK energy from waste operator, publishes research conducted by Savanta which reveals the public’s strong desire to ban the export of waste and also to stop sending waste to landfill.

The poll of a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults, found that:

  • 72% of the public believed the UK should be dealing with the waste it creates, rather than shipping it overseas
  • A majority (53%) of the public supported an outright ban on waste exports, with only 11% disagreeing.
  • 70% of the public said the government should aim to divert all waste from landfill
  • 75% agree that the UK Government should ensure the maximum amount of energy is recovered from unrecyclable waste, which can be used to power UK homes

Currently the UK exports over 2 million tonnes of waste and over 12 million tonnes continues to go to landfill. Both exporting and landfilling combustible waste means that the UK misses out on baseload, reliable energy that can be generated in the UK’s state-of-the-art energy from waste facilities.

The amount of waste that England exports is increasing. New figures published by the Environment Agency on 20 November, showed that England exported 9.5% more RDF (a type of waste used in energy from waste facilities) in the year to date, compared to 2022.1

Energy from waste facilities generate lower emissions per tonne of waste compared to landfill.2 Every tonne of waste diverted from landfill to energy from waste saves 200kg of CO2e.3

Mike Maudsley, CEO of enfinium, said: “The UK has a waste problem. To fix it we need to consume less and reuse more, we must increase recycling rates, and we need to put that which is left over to good use here in the UK, not bury it in a hole in the ground or send it overseas.

By diverting waste from climate-damaging landfill, and putting an end to waste exports, we can reduce our emissions while generating homegrown baseload energy. This is better for the environment and better for the UK.”


Notes to editor

Statistical Information

1 LetsRecycle, “RDF exports continue year-on-year growth in 2023”, 21 November 2023, available here:

2 National Infrastructure Commission, “The Second National Infrastructure Assessment”, October 2023, p. 129.

3 Policy Connect, “No Time To Waste: Resources, recovery & the road to net-zero”, July 2020. Available here:

About enfinium

enfinium is a leading UK energy from waste operator with four operational sites in the UK, in West Yorkshire, Kent and Flintshire, and two in construction. enfinium diverts 2.3 million tonnes of unrecyclable waste from climate-damaging landfill, putting it to good use by turning it into home grown energy, enough to power 500,000 UK homes. enfinium’s ambition is to transform its facilities into local ‘decarbonisation hubs’ powered by the millions of tonnes of unrecyclable waste the UK will produce for decades to come. Using existing energy from waste infrastructure, enfinium could contribute to heat networks, produce electrolytic hydrogen, or use carbon capture technology to provide durable, high quality carbon removals which will be critical for the UK to achieve net zero by 2050. For more on enfinium, please visit

About Savanta

The research was conducted by Savanta via their weekly UK omnibus with fieldwork taking place during the 6th to 9th of October 2023. Data was weighted to be UK nationally representative across age, gender and region.

Savanta is a fast-growing, data, market research and advisory company. We inform and inspire our clients through powerful data, empowering technology and high-impact consulting, all designed to help our clients make better decisions and achieve faster progress. For more on Savanta, please visit or

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