Energy from Waste contributes to climate change, panel hears

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Lenaghan argued EfW has lifted Scotland's carbon intensity

Incineration is a net contributor to climate change according to Zero Waste Scotland’s Michael Lenaghan.

Talking as part of the RWM panel Future Targets: Weight or Carbon?, Lenaghan argued that his research into the carbon metric has shown Energy from Waste (EfW) to lift the carbon intensity of Scotland.

Because emissions are classed under the energy sector, they are not reported in the National Waste report.

He said: “The grid is decarbonising…and burning waste is adding emissions and not helping to decarbonise.

“Energy from Waste is problematic from a climate change perspective…compared to other renewables.”

Chairing the panel was ESA executive director Jacob Hayler who headed a report in June detailing the role of energy recovery in a circular economy.

He said: “These comparisons depend on baseline and alternative scenarios.

“The waste isn’t stuff we can send off for recycling and for every one tonne we divert from landfill, we conserve 200kg of CO2. The alternative for Energy from Waste isn’t wind power but Energy from Waste vs landfill.”

The ESA published a report last month arguing the case for introducing new metrics alongside the existing weight-based system.

The carbon metric will soon be published as an official statistic alongside Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) waste data.

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