Buckinghamshire is starting to turn rubbish into power

The UK is starting to find alternatives to landfill for all our waste that is not suitable for recycling, as Councils that fail to meet new targets will be financially penalised in the future - a move that is motivated by the European Union Landfill Directive and Climate Change Policy.

Buried waste at landfill sites decomposes anaerobically to generate methane which is 23 times more damaging for the environment than carbon dioxide – the gas produced when our food and garden waste is decomposed aerobically.

To try and find an alternative to landfill, Buckinghamshire council has come up with a waste treatment option that burns up to 300000 tonnes of waste per year and aims to generate 22MW of electricity - which would be enough to power about 36000 homes in the local area. This energy will be supplied to the national grid.

While burning of waste to produce power may not be as environmentally friendly as other renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power, the advantages of this method include creating less carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels, securing an energy supply, and preventing the otherwise harmful production of methane gas. It could therefore be used to supplement other types renewable energy going forward as fossil fues are phased out.
The plant at Calvert in Buckinghamshire,  will use some of the most advanced technology for the conversion of energy. Last month saw its first delivery of waste from High Heavens Waste Transfer Station, High Wycombe, which collects waste from Chiltern, South Buckinghamshire, Wycombe and Aylesbury Vale District Councils.

The plant which cost £275M to build, will be expected to save council tax payers in Buckinghamshire more that £150M over the course its 30 year contract.