British rubbish imports held up due to waste processing problems

Household waste dumped outside full recycling bins. Photo:
Household waste at an AEB collection site. Photo:

The Netherlands imports some 25,000 tonnes of British rubbish every week, more than any other country, the NRC reported on Wednesday.

The imports began eight years ago because Dutch furnaces had extra capacity, but have now run into trouble because of the problems at Amsterdam’s AEB incinerator.

Existing contracts are being honoured but efforts are being made to limit waste imports while four of six furnaces are out of action for maintenance.

Around a quarter of the waste burned in the Netherlands comes from abroad, with England and Wales accounting for the bulk of the imports.

‘Of course the limits on exports are having an impact on greenhouse gas emissions,’ Adrian Judge of British advisory group Tolvik told the NRC. ‘The UK has few furnaces and if the waste can’t be exported, it gets dumped here and emits more methane. We are already seeing this.’

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