Incineration could rise by 900% in the UK without damaging health or the environment, waste firms have insisted.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) pointed to Europe as an example as it backed calls for an increase in rubbish burning.
An Institution of Civil Engineers report last week declared that more electricity should be produced from waste to help the UK meet renewable energy targets.
But ESA Chief Executive Dirk Hazell said: "Many other EU countries both recycle more, and extract more energy from their wastes.
"Given the proper framework, the UK could safely produce about 10 times as much energy from waste."
The Liberal Democrats have promised not to allow new incinerators for household waste unless it is proved they are the best possible option for the environment.
And the Conservatives have pledged to give councils the power to ban mass-burn incinerators.
But Hazell said: "The UK is recycling more than ever before, but we have overlooked the potential of extracting more energy from waste.
"By 2020 the UK might have to divert 30 million tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste away from landfill every year.
"Recognising this as a resource which can be used to provide electricity will help to meet this requirement as well as helping to combat climate change."