The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has published a market report, produced in partnership with Tolvik Consulting, setting out the investment opportunity in the UK waste market.
• The UK produced 85 million tonnes of waste in 2012, with 21 million tonnes sent to landfill;
• We forecast a gap between the waste we produce (post recycling) and the infrastructure available to process it of up to 7.7m tonnes by 2020. Closing that gap will bring economic and environmental benefits to the UK;
• Closing the gap will require an additional £5bn investment in the UK’s waste management infrastructure by 2020;
• The new infrastructure could create up to 6000 jobs and enough renewable electricity to power 1 million homes (equivalent to the electricity needs of Liverpool and Bristol).
GIB forecasts a gap of up to 7.7 million tonnes between the amount of waste produced post-recycling and the infrastructure available to process it – an investment opportunity of c. £5 billion to 2020. This energy recovery infrastructure could generate enough renewable electricity to power one million homes.
Chris Holmes, Managing Director, Waste and Bioenergy, UK Green Investment Bank, said:
“There is clearly a capacity gap in the UK waste market. We stand ready to back the next generation of UK waste projects, many of which we hope to see using some of the exciting newer technologies that have come to the market in recent years.
“Energy-from-waste infrastructure remains an attractive asset class, offering good financial and environmental returns and a strong project pipeline over the coming years.
“Much of the UK’s household waste is already being managed through PPP contracts with local authorities. The project pipeline is therefore increasingly focused on processing commercial and industrial waste, often using advanced conversion technologies.
“We are confident that this changing landscape can continue to provide attractive investment opportunities.”
As highlighted in the report, the UK produced 85 million tonnes of waste in 2012, of which almost 21 million tonnes were sent to landfill. Using non-recyclable waste as a fuel to generate energy rather than sending it to landfill can deliver both much needed UK energy generation capacity as well as significant environmental benefits over the longer term.
With a 70% drop in waste sent to landfill and a 26% increase in recycling since 2000, the UK is getting better at managing its waste sustainably. But there remains an opportunity for the UK to do more.