Incineration of waste causes stall in recycling rates

A new report from the Green Party has found that the amount of waste managed by local authorities and sent to incinerators has tripled since 2010, while recycling rates have stalled.

The analysis, printed in A burning problem: How incineration is stopping recycling, warns that England is on the brink of burning more of its rubbish in incinerators than it recycles by the end of the current financial year, with London, the West Midlands and the North East already burning more than is recycled.

With increasing incineration rates leading to stalling recycling rates, the Green Party argue that the trend is bad for climate change and expressed that, while there is logic to ‘generating energy from the waste that we cannot recycle or reuse’, it should remain a last resort.

The figures for 2016-17 show that approximately four million tonnes were landfilled, about 10 million incinerated and just over 11 million recycled or composted. The party also found that there were 40 energy-from-waste facilities in the UK in 2017, up from 26 in 2014.

The Energy Services Association said that the report highlights how local authority budget cuts were to blame for recycling stagnating, not incineration growth.

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