A greater tonnage of waste derived fuels were exported from England and Wales in February 2015 than in any other month previously, data published by the Environment Agency indicates.
The data, which was made available on the Environment Agency’s website this month, shows that a total of 240,860 tonnes of RDF was exported to the continent throughout February.
This means that the record for tonnage exported has now been broken during three consecutive months, with 211,000 tonnes sent for treatment in Europe in December 2014, and 218,000 tonnes exported in January 2015.
Prior to this, February 2014 had held the record for the busiest month for export, with 209,647 tonnes having been sent overseas. Figures on the amount of RDF exported from England and Wales to Europe for treatment were first published in 2010.
The new figures indicate that RDF exports are continuing to grow, despite expectations that demand is likely to peak at around 2.5 million tonnes per year, according to analysis by consultancy firm Tolvik, as more domestic energy recovery facilities come online (see letsrecycle.com story).
Exports across the whole of 2014 edged closer to this total, with figures published in February showing that 2.37 million tonnes were exported throughout the course of the year, compared to 1.58 million tonnes in 2013 (see letsrecycle.com story).
If exports continue at the current rate, the total could hit as much as 2.7 million by the end of the year.
Growth has also been achieved without any tonnage being sent to AEB’s large-scale energy from waste (EfW) plant in Amsterdam, which is one of the largest users of UK RDF. The plant ceased accepting UK shipments in December after having been hit by a major fire (see letsrecycle.com story). It is expected that demand from the AEB facility will resume from this month.
In total, 458,814 tonnes has been shipped to Europe by firms in England and Wales through the first two months of the year.
The largest single exporter this year to date has been Andusia Recovered Fuels, which has overtaken both SITA UK and Biffa in the standings, exporting 11.39% (52,000 tonnes) of the overall figure through the first two months of 2015. SITA and Biffa exported 42,000 and 39,000 tonnes respectively.
The Netherlands is the largest individual market for material having received 194,000 tonnes of material from England and Wales, followed by Germany (108,000 tonnes) and Sweden (76,561 tonnes).
RDF is a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste, which companies wishing to export are required to notify the Environment Agency of its final destination, to ensure it does not end up in landfill.