Waste incineration set to surpass recycling in Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire could soon be burning more than it recycles
Nottinghamshire could soon be burning more than it recycles

Nottinghamshire is on the verge of burning more rubbish than it recycles, new figures reveal.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, 173,022 tons of rubbish was incinerated in Nottinghamshire, according to figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

That was 42 per cent of the local authority's waste.

The vast majority was sent to specialist energy from waste power plants as fuel to generate heat and electricity.

Most of the rubbish in Nottinghamshire, 45 per cent, has been recycled or composted, but the proportion of waste incinerated has gone up by 57 per cent over the last three years.

Across England, burning waste has become more common.

Now around 42 per cent of rubbish is incinerated compared with 30% three years earlier.

A cross party report, launched in July in the House of Lords, called on the Government to take oversight of the industry and introduce an incineration tax.

Research revealed that incinerators in England polluted more last year than a quarter-of-a-million lorries travelling 75,000 miles.

Libby Forrest, policy and parliamentary affairs officer at Environmental Services Association, said the wider use of incineration should be celebrated.

She said: "Energy from waste has increased because we are successfully moving away from landfill, which is more damaging to the environment.

"Energy from Waste saves 200kg of carbon dioxide per tonne of waste diverted from landfill, and generates low-carbon power far more efficiently than landfill, contributing to renewable energy targets and energy security."

Nottinghamshire sent 24,345 tonnes of waste to landfill, six per cent of the rubbish collected by the council.

The Government aims to recycle half of household waste by 2020 nationally, and cut the proportion of rubbish sent to landfill to ten per cent by 2035.

Shlomo Dowen, of United Kingdom Without Incineration Network, believes most of the waste that is incinerated could be recycled.

He said: "We need to stop burning recyclable material, and this means we need to stop building new incinerators.

"Separate collection of food waste should be accompanied by increasing the range of recyclable material collected at the kerbside, and Government needs to introduce an incineration tax to ensure that those sending waste for incineration pay the cost of the pollution they cause."