Waste to Energy - It sounds very sensible



The Eurotrash business may sound like an unpromising enterprise, but it's one that is increasingly profitable.

The UK paid to send 45,000 tonnes of household waste from Bristol and Leeds to Norway between October 2012 and April 2013.

"Waste has become a commodity," says Pål Spillum, head of waste recovery at the Climate and Pollution Agency in Norway. "There is a big European market for this, so much so that the Norwegians are accepting rubbish from other countries to feed the incinerator."

Norway is not alone. Waste to energy has become a preferred method of rubbish disposal in the EU, and there are now 420 plants in Europe equipped to provide heat and electricity to more than 20 million people. Germany ranks top in terms of importing rubbish, ahead of Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.

"At the moment, the city of Oslo can take 410,000 tonnes of waste a year and we import 45,000 tonnes from the UK. Europe as a whole currently dumps 150m tonnes of waste in landfills every year, so there is clearly great potential in using waste for energy."

Spillum adds: "It is cheaper [for some UK towns] to pay for us to take their waste than to pay landfill fees."

But most residents seem comfortable with the idea of burning waste to create fuel, with 71% of the population supporting the renewable energy source.

We produce insane amounts of waste every day, so why not use waste as fuel for heat? As long as the benefits outweigh the risks.