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Is Government Realising Potential of Waste-based Renewables?

Is Government Realising Potential of Waste-based Renewables?

22 October 2014

UK - The REA welcomes the report ‘Waste management in England’ by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. Launching the report, Committee Chair Anne McIntosh said that “stronger Government leadership” is needed to “drive up static recycling rates in England and make better use of energy recovery options”.

REA Technical Director Jeremy Jacobs said: “Defra should be doing more, not less, to realise the potential of waste-based renewables. For instance, the UK still exports vast quantities of refuse-derived fuel.

"We could be using this valuable resource here to generate very cheap low carbon heat and power in conventional combustion plants, or to boost development of cutting edge UK technology like gasification and pyrolysis, instead of shipping it off to the Continent.

“The call for further development of heat networks is also welcome, but we disagree with the statement that there’s no role for purpose-grown crops in anaerobic digestion. What we do need to do is find an economically and environmentally sustainable balance between crops and wastes – and that needs Government leadership.”

If waste is simply left to rot in landfill, it emits methane into the atmosphere, which is a very damaging greenhouse gas. All waste-based renewables can help prevent these emissions.

Most waste-based renewables also generate clean energy that can replace fossil fuels in the energy mix, from combustion and landfill gas, to anaerobic digestion and advanced thermal treatment, to waste-derived transport fuels.

Finally, anaerobic digestion and composting also produce sustainable growing products for farmers (digestate and compost respectively) which can substitute for the use of fossil fuel based fertilisers.

TheCropSite News Desk

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