Energy recovery - maximising the value of waste materials

Over the past 10 years, the amount of household waste we recycle in the UK has increased three-fold, and in 2009, more than half our business waste was recycled or re-used. It's good progress, but we are still generating substantial quantities of residual waste in this country with over 17 million tonnes coming from households alone every year.

Our priority is to prevent waste occurring and to re-use and recycle resources, but an element of genuine waste, i.e. waste that cannot be re-used or recycled, will always exist. Creating energy from this residual waste, which would otherwise go to landfill, is a sensible and sustainable option.

This is particularly true for food waste and we have supported the development of anaerobic digestion plants which recover energy from food and other biodegradable waste.

Treated wood waste is another material from which it makes environmental and economic sense to recover energy. Of the estimated 4.2million tonnes of total wood waste in the UK, up to 1.7 million tonnes is sent to landfill every year.