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1. Encourages more waste
Incinerators need a regular feed of rubbish. Authorities that have chosen incineration, have correspondingly low recycling rates. Contracts also tend to be very long (at least 25 years), meaning that we will have no way to adapt positively to changes in the waste make-up and volume.

2. Generates energy inefficiently
Incinerators that only generate electricity, produce more greenhouse gases than gas fired power stations per unit of energy generated. We are very unlikely to get a CHP incinerator which would operate at 50–70% efficiency. The market is more likely to want to build an electricity-only incinerator, which will operate at around 27% efficiency. Incineration does not generate renewable energy – burning plastic just substitutes one fossil fuel for another.

3. Wastes energy
Recycling saves far more energy than is generated by burning waste because it means making fewer new things from raw materials.

4. Wastes resources
Stocks of raw materials are finite. We should be doing all we can to recover and recycle valuable materials from our rubbish, rather than turn these materials into a ‘fuel’.

5. Causes pollution
Smoke, gases and ash from incinerators contain harmful dioxins which are a cause of cancer. There are also a lot of heavy metals left in the ash.

6. Does not make waste go away
Incineration reduces waste to around 40% by weight, 25% by volume. Much of the toxic ash needs to be disposed of to hazardous landfill.

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