RDF exports up 6% in 2023

Exports of refuse derived fuel (RDF) from England rose by 6.3% in 2023, Environment Agency data has showed. 

Exports of RDF rose by around 6% between 2022 and 2023

The data is sourced from Environment Agency figures and compiled by Footprint Services. This showed that 1.53 million tonnes were exported from England during the year.

The rise reverses a period of declines in recent years and was boosted by a 59% rise in exports to Germany, which took in 176,970 tonnes of English RDF as it sought alternatives to gas.

However, exports to the Netherlands, where a €31 per tonne charge tax was introduced in 2019, fell by 7% to 434,238.

The largest destination for English RDF was Sweden, which imported 774,000 tonnes of English RDF. This means 55% of all RDF exports from England went to Sweden.

Footprint Services explained that in this past year Sweden has been a “stalwart outlet” for English RDF amidst the turbulence of recent years, and the strength of the commercial relationships between the “two is evident to all involved”.

The largest markets for RDF exports and their percentage change between 2022 and 2023 ( Footprint Services)


Footprint Services noted that although the current volumes are higher than those recorded since 2017, this upswing is attributed to a return to normalcy post-Covid and a global easing of tensions.

It’s important to note that this growth is rooted in previously suppressed figures and may not necessarily indicate a sustained surge in the long term, the consultancy firm said.

However, Footprint Services explained that exporters should still remain “cautiously optimistic” about the year ahead.

The rise is not enough to wipe out the decline recorded between 2021 and 2022

Market share

The three companies which exported the most RDF from England in 2023 were Geminor UK, Andusia Recovered Fuels and Bertling Environment.

Retaining the top spot as England’s most prolific exporter, Geminor’s shipments rose by 13 % to 283,637 tonnes. The UK became Geminor’s biggest market in 2023.

The data showed that Bertling Environment and Andusia’s exports grew by 3% and 31% to 191,851 and 234,473 tonnes respectively.

The three companies which imported the most were Attero BV EEW, Energy from Waste GmbH (Delfzijl) and Tekniska Verken AB (Linköping).

However despite being the top importer, Attero BV EEW showed a 4% decrease in imports recording 147,245 for the year.

Energy from Waste GmbH (Delfzijl) and Tekniska Verken AB (Linköping) both displayed growth of 5% and 60% respectively.

Exporters should be cautiously optimistic

  • Andrew Gadd, Footprint Services


Andrew Gadd, company manager of Footprint Services, said: “2023 made a welcome change for the RDF export sector, with volumes higher than the previous year. However, it is worth noting that post-Covid and global unease, that growth comes on the back of depressed figures and doesn’t necessarily signify a sustained surge.

“Exporters should be cautiously optimistic about the year ahead, while not expecting stellar uplift.

“Wary stability describes the mood, with conflict ongoing, disruption to shipping routes and the implementation of CO2 taxes. Nonetheless, it still makes sense for RDF to be sent to very efficient CHP facilities in Europe and Scandinavia, where the maximum amount of energy can be recovered, reducing the need for virgin fossil fuels.”

Share this article with others

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

Back to top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest waste and recycling news straight to your inbox.