Where waste goes does not appear to be a contentious issue, unless someone chooses your neighbourhood to locate it.
The UK exports over 1.5Mt of refuse-derived fuel to mainland Europe every year. When burned, this would be enough to power about half a million households. Energy from Waste uses materials that would otherwise have been sent to landfill, or transported for use in countries such as Sweden, Denmark or Latvia. The method links a waste management method with a non-fossil fuel energy source.
This month sees the commissioning of the new Viridor Energy-from-Waste plant, located in Splott. Residual waste from five counties will be transported here for burning. The process will still produce waste, in the form of ash, which will require disposal.
If we are truly aiming for a reduction in waste, then the plant will become redundant by 2050 at the latest.
I don’t know how I feel about the plant. But I know I still throw rubbish in my black bag, so I am responsible for the need for waste treatment and storage. By reducing black bin waste significantly and by considering the types of materials I will be throwing away, I will have an impact on the requirement to burn rubbish.