The mountains of waste produced by the UK should be harnessed for their energy potential, according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME).
A report entitled Energy from Waste: A Wasted Opportunity? notes that energy bills are rising on the back of global energy price increases and that the UK produces enough waste to fill the Royal Albert Hall every two hours.
The IME report says that recycling is not always the best solution, claiming that with some materials the cost of turning them into new products consumes more energy than making them from scratch.
"Recycling should only be for waste products which cannot be more sustainably converted into electricity, heat and/or transport fuels," the report urges.
It also highlights the fact that the price of recycled goods has dropped drastically ? so much so that some councils have asked whether they can store collected material on military bases in the hope that the price will recover.
The IME has called on the government to classify waste as an energy resource and facilitate the creation of a network of energy from waste power plants.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has sought consultation on a paper on the opportunities for biowaste - food and garden refuse, which emits methane as it breaks down.
The methane, which is 20 times more powerful than CO2, could be used to generate energy instead of simply escaping into the atmosphere form landfills.
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