Energy from waste a threat to long term recycling targets?

October 14, 2008 at 1:58 pm

A protest has failed to stop plans for an incinerator to provide energy from waste in East Sussex. The protest against the Newhaven incinerator, which would burn more than 200,000 tonnes of waste each year, was mounted by a coalition of different groups concerned by its impact on the long-term outlook for recycling. The High Court rejected the protests in a ruling.

Those behind the protest included the Defenders of the Ouse Valley, Newhaven Town Council, and the Lewes District Friends of the Earth. Their concern is that incinerating waste destroys the urgency of the recycling message to the Newhaven community and beyond. Aside from the question of carbon emissions, incineration discourages people from recycling as much of their waste as they can. They argue that regional recycling targets of 60 percent of all household waste by 2025 require the East Sussex and Brighton and Hove County Councils to change radically householders’ approach to waste.

Councils are under pressure to keep waste out of landfill, and public spending can only fuel this concern about the lack of importance being attached to everyday awareness of recycling. Funds were withdrawn earlier in the year from the recycling promotion organization WRAP, whilst £2 billion in Private Finance Initiative credits are available to councils to meet the costs of waste management. A network of anti-incineration campaigners has published a map showing the locations of more than 100 planned sites for incinerators across the UK.

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