New alliance calls for action to recognise role of energy from waste in UK decarbonisation
- Cory, Encyclis, enfinium, Veolia, and Viridor unite to launch Resource Recovery UK.
- Resource Recovery UK has today launched its Manifesto for a Sustainable, Circular Future, setting out the key steps needed to maximise the positive impact of the energy from waste sector.
- Group calls for policymakers to incentivise investments in decarbonisation technologies to reach net zero and to support the growth of heat networks.
The UK’s leading energy from waste (EfW) operators have joined forces to call for action to fully realise the industry’s potential role in resource efficiency, sustainable growth and decarbonisation.
Resource Recovery UK (RRUK) has been founded by EfW operators Cory, Encyclis, enfinium, Veolia and Viridor to champion policies that enable the sector to fulfil its role as a key component of the UK’s sustainable future.
The group today launches its Manifesto for a Sustainable, Circular Future, setting out the key steps that policymakers and industry need to take in parallel to maximise the positive impact of the sector.
Amongst other measures, the group is calling for:
- A carefully sequenced expansion of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to include waste incineration (with no energy recovery) and EfW no earlier than 2028;
- Measures to prevent both waste exports and landfill from becoming cheaper than EfW;
- Policies to support EfW facilities’ ability to decarbonise key industries and communities;
- Support for the development of heat networks in the UK;
- Recognition of EfW’s contribution to the green economy, for example bringing critical waste infrastructure into the scope of the upcoming National Infrastructure Assessment.
RRUK members are responsible for the operation of 24 energy recovery facilities across the UK. The sector processes annually 15,32 million tonnes of non-recyclable domestic and commercial waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill or exported overseas. In doing so, the sector generates 9,428GWh of baseload electricity - enough to power around three million homes - while recovering valuable materials, such as ash for reuse in construction aggregates.
Owen Michaelson, Chair of Resource Recovery UK and CEO of Encyclis commented: “It is vital that we increase recognition of the critical role energy from waste plays in recovering valuable resources from waste that is not recycled.”
“2023 is an important year for our sector, with key policy decisions to be taken that will shape the future of waste infrastructure and wider decarbonisation pathways. Our industry stands ready to work with others to ensure the opportunity is not wasted.”
The group is affiliated to the Environmental Services Association (ESA), which represents the wider resource and waste management industry.
Jacob Hayler, Executive Director, Environmental Services Association said: “Energy from waste performs an essential function and is critical to our everyday lives. That’s why we’re pleased to support this important new initiative dedicated to championing EfW’s pivotal role within the wider waste management sector.”
EfW operators are already taking steps to contribute to the UK’s wider sustainability goals, including:
- Bringing forward plans to invest billions of pounds in carbon capture and storage (CCS) across multiple facilities in the UK, and supporting the development of regulatory and economic support systems for CCS.
- Working with UK local authorities and housing providers to deliver local heat networks.
- Providing low carbon heat to energy-intensive industries as an alternative to fossil fuels.
 Tolvik Consulting, UK Energy From Waste Statistics – 2022
 Calculated based on Ofgem ‘medium’ household usage