Energising Our Waste

Preventing waste is the best thing we can do. When this is not possible, reducing, reusing and recycling are the next best options. But even after that, we are still left with residual waste, which can often be polluted or simply not good enough to recycle.

The average family in the European Union produces around 10kg of residual waste every week, contributing to a total of 2.5 million tonnes of unrecyclable waste across Europe every seven days. That’s a lot of waste: enough to fill a large football stadium every week.

Addressing climate change and the sustainable management of ever increasing amounts of waste are important global challenges, as recognised by both the Paris Agreement and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan.

Thankfully, we can still recover some value from this waste. Even better, we can do this in a way that gives us things we need while also reducing negative environmental impacts.

Energy recovery from non-recyclable waste – known as Waste-to-Energy (WtE) – could play a significant part in the EU’s ambition to be a “zero avoidable waste” economy and meet the targets of the EU Landfill Directive, diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landfill while contributing to renewable energy generation.