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Renewable Energy: Waste

Volume 490: debated on Friday 27 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what circumstances (a) commercial and (b) household waste is regarded as a source of energy; what proportion of such waste streams were regarded as energy sources in 2008; and what assessment he has made of the effect of classification of waste as an energy source on (i) waste collection authorities, (ii) private sector waste contractors and (iii) commercial waste producers. (265747)

The Government do not classify waste in this way. Many types of waste, including paper, wood and plastics, are capable of being either recycled or used to generate energy. Recycling is the generally preferred option because the energy saved from avoiding the use of virgin material is greater than that contained in the waste, although there are some exceptions. Residual waste for which no practical re-use or recycling opportunities exist will therefore be a candidate for energy from waste treatment. In 2007, 5,172,000 tonnes of waste were incinerated for energy recovery purposes. These figures are not available for 2008.