Energy Recovery Facilities

Energy Recovery Facilities


Energy Recovery Facilities are vital in supporting the UK’s ambition to reduce waste in an efficient and effective manner, helping to reduce the impact of waste on climate change. After reducing, reusing and recycling as much as possible, our Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) provide the infrastructure to efficiently recover energy from residual waste, meaning landfill becomes the last resort.

We have invested over £1.2 billion in the development of a network of advanced energy recovery facilities across the UK, which reduce the country's reliance on either placing waste in landfill or exporting it to the continent for treatment. This year our facilities will produce 2,315GWh electricity – that’s enough to power the equivalent of 634,248 homes.

Energy recovery is a technology that sees non-recyclable waste burned at high temperatures under carefully controlled conditions. The process is extremely efficient, robust and safe, with emissions treated to meet the stringent European Industrial Emissions Directive, which is strictly enforced and monitored by the relevant regulatory authority. This is the Environment Agency (EA) in England, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland or Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in Wales.

UK waste policies clearly identify the need for new recycling and recovery infrastructure, and the waste planning policy continues to recognise this need. Energy Recovery Facilities are an important part of the solution.

Giving new life to everything in your black bin

The electricity from energy recovery is fed into the National Grid and the heat can be utilised locally, presenting opportunities for local authorities to earn new revenue in selling energy back, as well as improving resource efficiency.

The energy recovery process produces bottom ash (the bulk of remaining materials), which is recycled for use as aggregate material in the construction industry, and Air Pollution Control residue (APCr), which is safely recycled or disposed of at licensed facilities.

Energy recovery is an established technology across Europe. When used in conjunction with high recycling rates, it is very effective at helping to meet landfill diversion targets.

Each site operates under the highest quality, environmental, energy efficiency, and health and safety standards – certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and OHSAS 18001 respectively.