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WRAP’s priority is to prevent waste arising and to re-use and recycle resources, but an element of unavoidable residual waste will always exist. Creating energy from this residual waste, which would otherwise go to landfill, may be an alternative option.


Energy-from-Waste (EfW) is a new guide which offers practical information to businesses looking at developing small-scale energy-from-waste facilities.

This is the first guide on energy-from-waste to be issued by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), since EfW was first included in its remit.

The guidance includes chapters on:

  • funding;
  • feasibility and good practice;
  • planning;
  • environmental permitting regulations;
  • feedstock;
  • outputs;
  • financial incentives; and
  • Waste Incineration Directive.

WRAP have however stressed that the energy from waste should only be used as a waste treatment option where waste prevention, re-use or recycling is not possible.

The document is separate from delayed energy-from-waste guidance being prepared by Defra, which is expected to look at why the facilities need to be developed.

In the 71-page guide, WRAP explains that there are a number of different technologies available to recover energy from waste including incineration, anaerobic digestion, gasification, pyrolysis and plasma gasification.

It also explains how businesses should go about planning facility, from developing a business case and carrying out technical feasibility to site selection, securing planning consent and facility monitoring.

Ian Wardle, head of organics and energy from waste at WRAP, commented on the guide:

“If we are to achieve a zero waste economy and meet our renewable energy targets, EfW has a valuable contribution to make. The waste hierarchy emphasises the importance of preventing, re-using and recycling waste before recovering energy from it. However, not everything can be recycled and recovering energy from unavoidable residual waste may be preferable to landfill.”

He went onto say:

“While it is still a developing industry, this suite of guidance will help to build knowledge of EfW and provide clear and concise information to those businesses that are exploring EfW as a treatment option.”

The guide provides advice at key stages of the design and planning process including:

  • Potential sources of funding: such as the Green Investment Bank, and the EDF Energy Green Fund;
  • Planning: explaining the planning process including timescales, consultation requirements, and environmental impact assessments;
  • Environmental Permitting Regulations: guidance on what the regulations are and what they mean for EfW facilities;
  • Feedstock: issues that affect the accessibility, security and suitability of waste materials as fuel for EfW processes;
  • EfW outputs and residues: how to manage energy outputs and residues including air pollution control residues and incinerator bottom ash;
  • Waste Incineration Directive: the requirements of the Directive and the implications for waste wood biomass and smaller scale EfW;
  • Financial incentives: explains the financial incentives currently available to support renewable energy installations.

WRAP explained that it started working on energy from waste in 2011 with the aim of addressing barriers and providing guidance to build knowledge levels and understanding.

They hope the guidance will help to raise the profile of EfW “as part of the’ total solution’ for managing waste”.

If you would like to download the guide, click here.

If you would like to be kept informed about their work in the energy from waste sector, please email


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