Waste companies and many councils claim that incineration is better than landfill, but Climate Scientist, Piers Forster, of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), has described this as “increasingly bogus”. Much of what is incinerated could and should be recycled
Some ‘renewable’ UK incinerators are more polluting than coal stations
Waste firms and councils accused of ‘greenwashing’ with false claims over burning rubbish for energy
‘Greenwashing’ incinerator firms are burying evidence that burning household waste for energy can be more polluting than coal-fired power plants, openDemocracy can reveal.
Waste companies promote incinerators as generators of ‘renewable’ or ‘low-carbon’ energy but evidence from their own monitors shows that the UK’s 57 incinerators emitted more than seven million tonnes of fossil-based carbon dioxide last year, largely from burning plastic.
More than half of incinerated plastic is either “readily recyclable” or “potentially recyclable”, according to analysis of waste.
Last year, the Environment Agency asked companies to start including CO2 information based on continuous monitoring in their annual performance reports.
Analysis of this data by openDemocracy and UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) has found that the average UK incinerator produces more than twice as much CO2 per unit of electricity as gas-fired power plants, and some have a higher carbon intensity than coal plants.
The huge environmental harm caused by incineration is completely unnecessary. We should all be working together to do away with incineration, and this starts by calling out the greenwash whenever we see it.
Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of UKWIN
Read the openDemocracy article by Ben Webster, 17 June 2023, here: