The poll of a “nationally representative sample” of 2,000 UK adults was carried out by market research company Savanta on behalf of Enfinium, which has six EfW plants in its portfolio.
The results shared today show:
- 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
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.”
The issue of an outright ban on waste exports is controversial. For refuse derived fuel (RDF) exporters, it is often argued that EfW plants in Europe often makes better use of of heat.
Many RDF bodies have therefore argued that exports of waste to these facilities “has a lower overall carbon impact than domestic treatment”.
For recycling, the export of material remains an important market, as domestic capacity does not always exist.
Many recyclers also argue that exports go to recycling facilities that are as good as, or sometimes better, than the ones we have in the UK. Common destinations for material are in Europe, Turkey, India, or South East Asia.