Saturday, 12 January 2019

Incinerating rubbish 'will increase air pollution, exacerbate climate change and threaten much-needed recycling'

There has been a lot of coverage in the press around incineration of rubbish:
Eye-watering amounts of your rubbish are being incinerated in Coventry - CoventryLive
Waste incineration set to surpass recycling in Nottinghamshire - Mansfield and Ashfield Chad
Peterborough burns more than half of the rubbish collected, figures show - Peterborough Telegraph
North Tyneside has one of the highest rates of waste incineration - News Guardian

A lot of countries do it:
Just one percent of Finnish waste now goes to landfill | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi

But they are not popular in the UK:
Up to four 'disastrous' waste incinerators proposed for Surrey green belt sites - Get Surrey

And there are questions as to how 'environmentally friendly' it is:
“A false solution to climate change”: why burning rubbish does not mean clean energy | CityMetric 

The Guardian reported on this last summer: 

Waste incineration set to overtake recycling in England, Greens warn

Amount of rubbish burned by local authorities triples while household recycling rates stall

Adam Vaughan
Mon 16 Jul 2018

Full recycling bins on pavement in Bristol. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

England is on the brink of burning more of its rubbish in incinerators than it recycles for the first time, according to a new analysis.

The amount of waste managed by local authorities and sent to incinerators, or energy-from-waste plants, tripled between 2010-11 and 2016-17. By contrast, household recycling rates have stalled since 2013.

If those trends continue, the millions of tonnes of waste incinerated will overtake the amount sent for recycling by the end of the current financial year, a report by the Green party found.

London, the West Midlands and north-east already burn more than they recycle.

The Greens, who argue that incineration is bad for climate change and holds back recycling rates, said it was shocking that recycling was now going to be overtaken nationally.

Baroness Jones, the Green party peer, said: “There is a logic to generating energy from the waste that we cannot recycle or reuse, but it is meant to be the last resort option. What we have created instead is a market-driven system of incinerators which constantly need to be fed.”

Waste incineration set to overtake recycling in England, Greens warn | Environment | The Guardian

The Independent reported last week on where we are going: 

The UK will burn more than half its rubbish as it doubles the number of incinerators over next 10 years

Opponents claim the boom will increase air pollution, exacerbate climate change and threaten much-needed recycling

Garbage burns at over 1,000 degrees in an incinerator in France. After Brexit, exporting waste to the EU may be more complex. (Getty)

Friday January 11th 2019

The UK faces a wave of protests as the number of incinerators used to burn rubbish is set to more than double within a decade. The waste incineration boom will increase air pollution, exacerbate climate change and threaten much-needed recycling, opponents claim.

The 44 waste incinerators across the UK burned 10.9 million tonnes of rubbish last year, much of it in England, where it accounted for 42 per cent of rubbish disposal. Incineration will soon account for more than half of all waste disposal, data shows. Sixteen new incinerators are under construction, which will increase burning capacity by more than a third. A further 45 incinerators have been approved but haven’t started building and 40 more are at planning stages.

Figures ‘extremely concerning’

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “These figures are extremely concerning. Burning our rubbish marks a failure of policy and imagination on the part of the Government and local councils.”

Critics say the rise is alarming because incineration plants cause air pollution, harming health, and increases carbon dioxide emissions which exacerbate climate change. Incinerators could also reduce recycling by encouraging councils to burn more waste, they say.

This threat is acute since China, where most British waste was typically sent, has banned imports of plastic, paper and card – and Brexit may shut off a further major waste destination.

A woman rides her motorbike past a local incinerator in Gaojia, in China (Gettyy)

Investigation into recyclable waste being wrongly incinerated

Brighton and Hove Council has launched an investigation into waste incineration after a binman claimed tonnes of rubbish meant for recycling had been burnt after Christmas.

Ken Quantick said he was collecting eight tonnes of recycling a day which was wrongly being incinerated, as the site operator Veolia became swamped by a huge volume waste after Christmas.

“We work one of nine routes and suddenly they started telling my team of three workers to start dumping our recycling in general household waste which is destined to be incinerated. I questioned them and they said our loads was listed as contaminated but I’ve been working 14 years and this has never happened before,” Mr Quantick said.

“Residents think their rubbish is being recycled but it isn’t. People are carefully picking out paper, plastic and tins only for the recycling firm to burn it. It’s a public scandal and I’m so disgusted by it that I can’t stand by and stay silent any longer, he said.

A council spokesman said: “We know there is an issue concerning contamination at the Veolia site. We have launched an investigation and are speaking to Veolia and our own staff about the situation.”

“However, claims that Veolia is burning recycling because the plant is overwhelmed are completely untrue,” he added.

A spokesman for Veolia said: “Loads might be rejected if it is deemed to contain too high levels of contamination. This is to protect the quality of our end recycled product and ensure the best environmental performance.”

The UK is doubling the number of rubbish burning incinerators over the next 10 years - i news

Meanwhile, over the border, things are not going to plan: 

Cornwall energy-from-waste incinerator hasn’t produced electricity since June
Friday January 11th 2019

A controversial waste incinerator that was built to generate energy has not produced any electricity for seven months – although it continues to burn rubbish.

The Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre in St Dennis opened in March 2017 after several years of fierce opposition from residents and campaigners.

As with all UK waste incinerators, a major selling point for the plant had been that it would do something good with the burning, by using it to create electricity. But while this happened at first, a fault in the energy-generating turbine and pipework last summer stopped electricity production – and the problem has yet to be fixed.

When it’s working, the heat from the burning turns water into steam in a boiler. The high-pressure steam turns the blades of a turbine generator to produce electricity.

“I’m very angry. One of the main reasons the project overcame local opposition and was given the go ahead was because it would generate electricity. And it’s not even doing that,” said Ken Rickard, chairman of the Cornwall Waste Forum campaign group opposing the incinerator. “The incinerator project has been full of controversies from day one,” he added.

A spokesman for Suez, the French utility firm that operates the Cornwall plant with the faulty turbine, said: “We anticipate being in a position to re-commission the turbine and commence supplying energy to the national grid in February 2019.”

The process has taken so long because new parts have to be manufactured to replace the faulty sections of pipework, he added. The problem with the turbine has been repaired.

Cornwall energy-from-waste incinerator hasn't produced electricity since June

No comments: