27 November 2019 by Joshua Doherty

RDF exports see downwards trend

Provisional Environment Agency statistics have shown an 8.6% fall in the amount of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) exported from England in the first three quarters of 2019, compared with the same period last year.

The data – which is provisional until confirmed at the end of the year – shows that England exported 1,986,801 tonnes of RDF in the year to September, compared with 2,171,801 in the same period in 2018.

RDF exports

RDF remains a core component of the UK’s waste treatment options, despite falling as energy recovery rises

If the trend continues for the last three months of 2019, it will mean the amount exported has fallen for the second successive year, as the 2018 yearly statistics showed a fall of around 300,000 tonnes (see letsrecycle.com story) from the previous period.

The full year statistics for 2018 also showed that exports had ‘plateaued’ from 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story). The data also includes solid recovered fuel (SRF).


A fall in RDF and SRF exports has been predicted for a number of years as energy recovery capacity grows.

And, if the Dutch senate ratifies proposals currently within the Netherlands parliament to implement a tax of around €32 per tonne on the import of waste, this volume could fall further in 2020.

The second house of the Dutch Parliament, the Senate, will vote on the proposals on 17 December, although the Dutch Waste Management Association is heavily lobbying parliament to change course.

Statistics suggests the UK exports about 14% of its residual waste overseas in the form of RDF for energy recovery, with about half going to the Netherlands.

RDF exports

The provisional statistics for the year to September show a drop in the amount of RDF exported


The statistics each month have a breakdown of the companies which are exporting and the destination country.

RDF exports

The front of the Dutch Parliament, where the senate will vote on plans to introduce a tax on RDF imports next month

They show that the Netherlands and Germany represent the largest export destinations, while there are also markets in Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Bulgaria Cyprus and Greece.

The largest companies involved in exporting RDF and SRF by tonnage are Andusia, Biffa, Geminor, N&P, Suez and Veolia.

For the 2019 data, the highest export to one country of RDF in a calendar month was from the West Sussex Britaniacrest Seneca Partnership in July, which sent 34,000 tonnes of RDF to the Netherlands.



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