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‘Reduce RDF exports’ Newcastle council told

A group of waste experts have recommended that Newcastle city council seek to reduce its reliance on exporting waste overseas as part of its latest report which set out plans on how the city could become a ‘world leader’ in waste reduction.

In 2015/16, Newcastle exported just under 28,000 tonnes of waste (in the form of ‘refuse derived fuel’) to Sweden to be converted into heat and power. In addition, some 8,700 tonnes was sent to an energy from waste plant in Teesside. Together, this makes up over a quarter of municipal waste in the city.

The report was unveiled yesterday and called on the council to implement a string of measures

The Newcastle Waste Commission stated in its report yesterday that the city’s homes and business should benefit where energy from waste is generated. It said this can be done using regional capacity and ensuring Newcastle homes and businesses can benefit where possible.

The Commission was set by the council in March last year, though it is independent. It was described as a “team of top experts” set up to take a radical new look at how the city deals with its waste. It is made up of seven industry figures including Colin Church of CIWM, the Environment Agency’s Marie Fallon and Paul Taylor, chief executive of FCC Environment.

Two months after its foundation, it launched a consultation calling for ideas which formed part of yesterday’s report.

According to the findings, the city derives little benefit from this trade of waste to Sweden, as it pays to export RDF there, “which is expected to rise as Brexit kicks in”.


The ‘No time to waste’ report  also called on the council to introduce a voluntary ban on single-use plastics, as well as banning all plastic straws from bars and nightclubs.

If the measures in the report are implemented it is estimated that waste could be reduced by 10% by 2025, and recycling rates improved from 42% to 65% by 2030. Up to 1,000 jobs and millions of pounds for the local economy could also be generated, according to the group.

Heidi Mottram, chair of the Commission and chief executive of Northumbrian Water Group presented the report yesterday and said that waste, and how it is dealt with, is one of the biggest challenges facing this generation.

“We all have a responsibility to wise-

up to waste and do our bit. This report is full of ideas, big and small, short term and long term. I want as many people as possible to read it. If everyone pledges to do at least one thing then together we can make a big difference.”

Newcastle produces 142,000 tonnes of waste a year, and was ranked 198th in the letsrecycle.com league tables with an overall rate of 42.3%.

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