Panel member, FCC Environment’s treatment director Dennis Thran said that at a time when energy security was in the balance, it was vital that waste was converted into energy.

“We are going to hit a wall in Europe where our demands for energy will have to be met. We will ultimately have to combust something, whether it is nuclear, coal, oil or waste,” he said.

Thran added: “I came here to join the revolution because I believe the planet Earth is very much an island and we have to maximise the resources that we have.

“In Europe the revolution has started, we are maximising, we are designing we are reducing, but at the same time as we drive down the waste volume, we are also creating an ever growing demand for energy.

“We fully support all the initiatives in changes of design to maximise recycling to get the most benefit from our resources. From what cannot be reused we have to recover the maximum amount of energy to meet the demands in the UK.”

Another panel member, chief executive of the consultancy the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) Jeremy Tomkinson, explained that even highly recyclable plastics such as polyethylene could only be recycled a certain number of times, so it was vital that energy was recovered from them.

“If you could segregate out the renewable polyethylene that is now coming into the value chains and use this at the end of life, that is a very valuable renewable energy carrier that has actually come from a bottle that has been recycled,” he said.”

However, environmental consultancy Tickety Boo’s Mark Shayler argued that an increasing amount of waste was being prevented and therefore EFW could only go so far.

He said: “If I was a long-term investor, I would not put my cash into traditional EFW at the moment because we will design around it and we will design recovery solutions that mean it is less and less viable.”

Conor McGlone

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