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Composters feel incineration is necessary

Incineration should be used for about 30% of our household waste, according to composting technology provider Agrivert. With a view fed by the composting industry, Agrivert managing director Alexander Maddan doesn’t think ambitious EU and UK plans for waste can be achieved without using Energy-from-Waste (EfW) plants.

Maddan said: “Waste streams suffer from increased cost and environmental impact the more that is recycled from them – an unpalatable but solid fact.”

According to Maddan a typical household waste sample can be roughly split into three, with reasonable cost margins. About 35% of biodegradable waste can be extracted for composting or anaerobic digestion and about 35% of dry recyclate (paper, metal, plastic, glass) can be extracted, leaving a remainder of 30% mixed residual waste. Maddon says this 30% is “simply not effective or economic to recycle”.

“This 30% needs a home and whilst landfill is its current route, this route reaps nothing from this fraction. Incineration, via an EFW plant, effectively deals with this for a real return in energy terms,” he said.

Maddon, while believing that the percentage of waste a society recycles should always exceed the amount it burns, says the “three-pronged” approach to waste management is needed “to meet the needs of sustainability and economy”.

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