Energy from waste: a guide to the debate

The guide highlights key environmental, technical and economic issues to raise the level of understanding and debate around energy from waste.



Government’s main focus is on preventing waste in the first place or where it does arise ensuring it is viewed as a valuable resource, ideally reusing or recycling it. It is also government policy that efficiently recovering energy from residual waste has a valuable role to play in both diverting waste from landfill and energy generation. 

In the 2011 waste review, government set the goal of ensuring that recovery of energy from waste and its place in the waste hierarchy is understood and valued by households, businesses and the public sector in the same way as reuse and recycling. This guide aims to help deliver that goal by providing a credible reference document to inform discussions and decisions relating to energy from waste.

The guide will be relevant to those wishing to engage in the debate about energy recovery, including members of the public; waste and planning officials in local government; elected members of local and national government; the waste management industry; energy intensive industries; energy companies; developers and technology providers; non-governmental organisations; and those looking to finance energy from waste projects.

By highlighting key environmental, technical and economic issues the guide aims to raise the level of understanding and debate around energy from waste. It also identifies options that could be considered and some of the main points where decisions can be influenced.  

This revised 2014 version of the guide includes an additional chapter (chapter 5) which considers the future policy direction for energy from waste. This chapter identifies underlying principles that are likely to continue as key considerations for both government and the sector in the future.

The overview section provides all of the key messages from the guide, while the main chapters provide more detailed information with hyperlinks to further reading.

Technology Briefs

Alongside the Energy from waste guide we have published updated waste technology briefs which provide more details relating to specific energy from waste technologies

Further information