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Energy from waste

Waste is big business. In an effort to reduce the amount of rubbish the UK sends to landfill in recent years, ways of turning waste into energy have become much more desirable. We decided to take a closer look at the technology that can help us produce energy from waste.

Incinerators are not necessarily a good idea

In an attempt to divert waste from landfill, a huge amount of unsorted rubbish is being sent to incinerators. In 2017, the 40 incinerators around the country were burning millions of tonnes of our waste. Whilst these incinerators are producing energy, they are also producing CO2 emissions, which is causing concern to environmental campaigners. The Green Party argues that councils are being discouraged from recycling waste as it’s easier and cheaper for them to send everything for incineration without processing it first.

Biodegradable waste

According to the latest government figures, the UK sent nearly 8 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill in 2016. The chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association has contacted the Exchequer Secretary, urging the government to take steps to ensure even more food waste is sent to anaerobic digesters rather than landfill.

Anaerobic technology converts food waste into heat and biogas that can be used to generate power. It’s estimated that universal food waste collections could save English local authorities £400m in capital costs and over a billion in operational costs over the next 30 years.

The anaerobic digestion industry has more than tripled over the past ten years, and experts estimate the industry could be worth £1 trillion to the UK. Indeed, the technology is already being exported around the world. If food waste collections are optimised, the industry estimates it could generate 30% of the UK’s household power demands, creating 35,000 jobs in the process.

Mechanical biological treatment (MBT)

MBT is a method of extracting waste for recycling from general waste. Recyclable waste is automatically sorted, enabling paper, plastics and metals to be extracted and sent for recycling. Biodegradable waste will also be separated and sent for anaerobic digestion. The remainder can then be sent to landfill or for incineration. While MBT won’t eliminate waste, it will at least reduce it.

If your company produces high volumes of waste, contact us about hiring or buying our compactors and balers.

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