Report recommends Scottish government ban new incinerators

An independent review recommending an immediate ban on new incinerators has been welcomed by environmental campaigners.

The report, looking into the role of incineration in Scottish waste management, made 14 recommendations in total.

It suggested the government no longer grant planning permission to incineration infrastructure and should work towards transitioning to a fully circular economy.

The reduction of the amount of recyclable materials going to landfill should also be a priority.

However, environmental organisation Friends of the Earth has said that the report is lacking a clear exit strategy.

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: ‘This report shows that the alarming rise in incineration in Scotland must be stopped immediately – rapid action is needed to prevent the loss of valuable resources and stop the climate-wrecking emissions being caused by burning plastics.‘A ban on new incinerators is the first step in turning Scotland’s waste management system around, but it’s only half of the solution. The report makes it clear that more must be done to minimise waste and recycle as much as possible.‘Our current incinerators are some of Scotland’s biggest polluters so they must be phased out if Scotland is to meet its climate goals. It is concerning that the report does not include a detailed carbon assessment, given the direct threat of incinerators to our climate goals.’

Plastic, derived from crude oil, releases carbon when it’s burned and emits toxins and pollutants that harms air quality.

The report found that residual waste treatment poses a risk to human health and that stopping the burning of plastic is the quickest and most reliable route to reduce the carbon impact of incineration.

Capacity analysis also showed that in five years time Scotland will have more incineration capacity than there is available waste to burn.

The Scottish government is set to respond to the report fully in June.

In related news, engineers and scientists at The University of Texas in Austin have developed an enzyme variant which can break down plastics within a few hours or days time. 

Photo by Timo Volz


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