Incineration vs landfill: Why the debate over carbon intensity is far from over

Figures just released by SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, showed household waste entering landfill at a record low of 756,722t in 2018, while incinerated waste shot up 72% to 1.23m tonnes. This is “likely the start of an increasing trend”, SEPA noted, as waste is diverted from landfill ahead of a 2025 landfill ban. The UK is mulling over a similar approach, which makes sense. Or does it?

by David Burrows
The debate over whether landfill could be less carbon intensive then Energy from Waste plants is far from over. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
The debate over whether landfill could be less carbon intensive then Energy from Waste plants is far from over. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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