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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

05 Dec 2008 05:12:45

Waste 'should be used for power'



Waste 'should be used for power'
A network of energy from waste plants should be established to provide cheaper energy and a solution to the massive amount of waste generated in the UK, according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME).

In a report, the IME notes that 300 million tonnes of waste are generated in the UK every year – enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall every two hours – and energy prices are rising.

While recycling has been touted as a partial solution to the waste issue, the IME claims it might not be the right one.

It suggests that if prices of recycling materials is low and turning them into products uses more energy, a better solution may lie in using waste to generate electricity.

"Recycling should only be for waste products which cannot be more sustainably converted into electricity, heat and/or transport fuels," it claims.

The report says the perception that energy from waste plants is 'dirty' should be countered.

It calls on the government to redefine waste as an energy resource and broaden its approach to eliminating landfill waste beyond recycling.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has launched a consultation on the opportunities of biowaste – biodegradable garden and kitchen waste.

Biowaste emits methane, a greenhouse gas which is about 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, which could be harnessed to create biogas or thermal energy.

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "The EU needs to become a resource-efficient, recycling society and bio-waste offers great opportunities. Once our resources become waste we must find ways to recycle them."


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