In terms of climate change, the benefits of waste incineration over landfilling are slight. This is the verdict of the UK consulting group Eunomia in its study "The Potential Contribution of Waste Management to a Low Carbon Economy".
The report was commissioned by the environmental protection network Zero Waste Europe and ACR+, the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and sustainable Resource management, and was released this week to coincide with the world climate conference (COP21) in Paris.
According to the study, incinerating waste to generate electricity is in no way climate-friendly. "A waste incinerator generating electricity might generate electricity with a carbon intensity of around 600g CO2 per kWh, almost double the carbon intensity of a modern gas-fired power station," the report concludes.