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This note looks at the role of energy from waste and incineration. It considers the implications of the technology.

Incineration is the burning of waste to reduce its volume, so that the remaining ash is easier to dispose of. Energy from waste (EfW) takes this process further by recovering some of the energy contained in the waste.

Concerns are often raised about the health implications and the wider environmental impacts of burning waste. However, Government agencies and many professional groups argue that the evidence shows that the thermal treatment of waste is safe. Many also argue that it can play an important role in sustainable waste management—although the degree to which a plant may be considered ‘sustainable’ is dependent upon a number of factors.

The Government’s Waste Review stated that it would continue to “support the role of energy recovery from waste within the waste hierarchy and aim to improve understanding of this role”.

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