English waste powering Scandinavian homes this winter

As the nights draw in, and the UK battens down the hatches ahead of another harsh winter, it may interest you to learn that waste product created in this country is being used to provide valuable heat and energy for homes across the land. The only problem is that the land in question isn’t our own fair isle…

No, what is happening is that around 600 tonnes of waste wood, cardboard and plastic is being shipped over to Scandinavia at a time, where it is used to provide heat and power for homes in Denmark.

This is a result of heavy taxes faced by British landfill sites, and a basic lack of incinerators here in the UK. Yes, we are benefiting here from cost savings as a result of not having to bury our waste, and the Danes are saving on the cost of natural gas consumption, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial if we were the ones to profit from this kind of activity?

In total, around 200,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste from England was incinerated in Denmark last year, which amounted to nearly six per cent of its total volume of combustible material used.

There’s a double-edged sword in action here though. Any kind of activity that provides trading options with other EU member states is valuable, and will support and contribute to the continued growth of the British economy. Yet the flip side of that is that we, like every EU member, have clearly defined targets in place for renewable energy production, and by shipping our waste product overseas, we’re losing out on a valuable resource which would help us meet those goals.

Developing the infrastructure required for such activity doesn’t come cheap; capital expenditure and Government-level support for such a plan would be required in abundance, however isn’t it time we started making our waste work for us? If other, similarly-developed countries can do it, why can’t we?

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