Energy generated from waste — Bulb Community

Energy generated from waste

Electricity is being generated in the UK by incinerating waste, including food waste and plastics which could be recycled. This energy
is often promoted as 'green' energy but since it is generated from burning plastics which are made from oil, is it really 'green'? What do you think?

Comments

  • It's an interesting discussion. There's always going to be some waste, and if incineration is being done in a modern plant where all of the byproducts are captured, I don't think it's necessarily terrible.

    I think we need to ensure that we don't become complacent though and just say that it doesn't matter what we buy and then throw away if it's going to be incinerated (if this becomes far more common in the future), as recycling is considerably better for the environment, both in lower energy consumption of new product creation, and lower virgin material use.

    There's a reason why it's Reduce, then Reuse, then Recycle.
  • as recycling is considerably better for the environment

    I am all for recycling if done properly, my local council sent most abroad to achieve their targets. Stirlingshire council ordered many thousand of new plastic bins and then discovered they could not use them, guess where they ended up!
    I wanted some scrap wood for some shuttering to make a concrete base for a shed, the local recycle centre said I would be charged with theft if I took some even if I returned after use, so I had to buy new wood and scrap it a few days later (at the recycle centre) once the concrete set.
  • edited March 5
    scudo said:

    I am all for recycling if done properly, my local council sent most abroad to achieve their targets. Stirlingshire council ordered many thousand of new plastic bins and then discovered they could not use them, guess where they ended up!

    Ahh yes. When I say recycling, I mean actual sensible local recycling rather than merely the thought of recycling fronted by some plastic bins ;)
    I wanted some scrap wood for some shuttering to make a concrete base for a shed, the local recycle centre said I would be charged with theft if I took some even if I returned after use, so I had to buy new wood and scrap it a few days later (at the recycle centre) once the concrete set.
    Sadly I believe this is all in the name of health and safety...
    If you can catch something as it comes out of someone's boot though, there's nothing the recycling centre can do about it. Scored a few good items over the years that way.
  • If we currently have waste plastic for which the only viable usage is incineration then we definitely need to revise its use in the first place. I hate having to buy such as apples in pre-packaged plastic but the alternative of plastic bags still leaves me with waste I don't want.
  • @Hatty we're big fans of the food waste hierarchy.

    Reduce waste >
    redistribute it (in the case where food can be rescued and, for example, used by food redistribution charities >
    feeding it to animals (which theoretically reduces pressure on harmful land use change driven by feedcrops for animal husbandry, particularly pigs) >
    recycling >
    use for energy through incineration or anaerobic digestion.

    We feel that this is partly a regulatory matter. For the most part, Bulb trusts Ofgem's certification of a fuel as renewable when deciding whether to use it, although we do have certain policies about which renewable fuels we confidently trust. (We distrust biomass from trees and non-run-of-river hydro.) We would love to see Ofgem formally incorporate the food waste hierarchy when certifying the renewableness of fuels.
  • And the food waste hierarchy certainly applies to non-food waste, too, in revised form. The examples from @scudo and @linesrg surely both violate a commonsense waste hierarchy, from my perspective.
  • The recycling industry's £2.8bn problem
    In England, the packaging industry contributes less than 10% of the money needed to recycle their plastics.
    The public pay the rest through council tax.
    Waste consultancy firm Eunomia says the industry should contribute more.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-43309332/the-recycling-industry-s-28bn-problem.

    It is no wonder that the public complain about costs...
    9% of my fuel costs to pay for subsidies.
    As for council tax...
    We pay 90% of the cost for plastic recycling with council tax.
    and 33% of my council tax to pay for council pensions.
  • linesrg said:

    If we currently have waste plastic for which the only viable usage is incineration then we definitely need to revise its use in the first place. I hate having to buy such as apples in pre-packaged plastic but the alternative of plastic bags still leaves me with waste I don't want.

    100% agree. There are a few "more environmentally friendly" products that I use that still come in non-recyclable plastic bottles for no good reason that I can work out.

    The "Plastic, not currently recyclable" on products also frustrates me. All products should have to specify exactly what the material is. The customer then can make their own mind up as to whether or not it's recyclable!
    scudo said:

    The recycling industry's £2.8bn problem
    In England, the packaging industry contributes less than 10% of the money needed to recycle their plastics.
    The public pay the rest through council tax.
    Waste consultancy firm Eunomia says the industry should contribute more.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-43309332/the-recycling-industry-s-28bn-problem.

    It is no wonder that the public complain about costs...
    9% of my fuel costs to pay for subsidies.
    As for council tax...
    We pay 90% of the cost for plastic recycling with council tax.
    and 33% of my council tax to pay for council pensions.
    Yeah, it's criminal. Introduce a sliding scale of tax on packaging and watch as packaging disappears or turns into cardboard overnight.
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