Six million tonnes of waste won’t be treated by 2030, says Environment Services Association


The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has released its recent study, The treatment capacity gap that urgently needs to be addressed, which has found that six million tonnes of waste won’t be treated by 2030. 

ESA also launched an independent examination of the UK market for the treatment of non-recyclable wastes, produced by Tolvik Consulting.  


Within the studies, ESA found that recycling rates are unlikely to increase above current levels, which would leave the UK six million tonnes short of treatment capacity by 2030. 

It believes that driving these rates above the industry’s range of 50-55%, will most likely cost around £1.5 billion, and will require Government interference to assist markets with recycled materials. 

According to ESA, ending the six million tonne capacity gap could lead to £4.5 billion capital investment, 1,500 jobs in the waste sector and 7,500 jobs in the construction industry. 

It also states that energy from waste facilities are capable of powering 720,000 homes. 

ESA executive director Jacob Hayler said: “The waste and recycling industry is alarmed by the emergence of a critical lack of infrastructure to treat the nation’s waste. ESA’s Members have invested around £5 billion in UK recycling and recovery facilities in the past five years and completed detailed modelling exercises to understand what further investment is required for the future.  

Their conclusions are stark. By 2030, the UK faces a shortfall of six million tonnes of waste treatment capacity. Without action, this means that five million UK homes will see their waste buried in landfill when it could be used to generate energy, helping to safeguard the UK’s energy supplies.

We urgently need the Government to recognise the waste crisis the UK is facing, and give the industry the long-term clarity it needs to invest in new energy from waste facilities.”