Exports of refuse derived fuel (RDF) from England and Wales grew by over half a million tonnes in 2015 according to the RDF Industry Group.
The Group, convened by Eunomia, calculates that English exports alone reached 2.94 million tonnes in 2015, up from 2.43 million tonnes in 2014 for the whole of England and Wales, based on official and provisional data from the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.
The Group obtained more accurate official figures for the first half of 2015, boosting the total by some 100,000 tonnes from that which the EA originally reported in their monthly publications. The Group expects that when more accurate data for 2015 is obtained later in the year, the total RDF export tonnage will be higher still. That’s because it will take account of data reported after the EA’s monthly reporting deadlines. The full UK picture will also be complimented with data from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each country now managing exports separately.
The data for England shows that the Netherlands received the largest quantity of waste (1.3 million tonnes), retaining its market lead from 2014. The second largest recipient of RDF is Germany at 0.7 million tonnes (an increase of almost 0.2 million tonnes since 2014), followed by Sweden at 0.41 million tonnes. 2015 also saw new export destinations appear on the market, with Bulgaria and Cyprus both featuring as recipients of material from England.
While many commentators have predicted that RDF exports would ‘level off’, and were likely to peak at around 2.5m tonnes per year, Eunomia has maintained since 2014 that such estimates were very conservative.
In response to the latest data release, a spokesperson for the RDF Industry Group said:
“We expect that when more up-to-date data is released, RDF export tonnages for the UK for 2015 will exceed 3 million tonnes, and may even be as high as 3.3 million tonnes. This represents a significant increase from 2014. Predictions that export growth will begin to slow significantly have not yet been realised.”