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Refuse Derived Fuel Market Assessed By Defra

Defra has called for evidence on the UK refuse derived fuel (RDF) market, for use in both the export and domestic sector.


Defra Seeks More Information On Refuse Derived Fuels


The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) issued a call for evidence on March 12th, to businesses and councils in the refuse derived fuel industry. Defra is also seeking data from stakeholders including the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and the Local Government Association (LGA).

In a letter to stakeholders, Defra stated that the aim of the consultation was to ‘fill the gaps in our knowledge’ about the RDF market. Running until May 9th, the consultation is looking for opinions on whether there is a need for the government to ‘take action to ensure the waste hierarchy is fully applied’. This should highlight the introduction of clearer minimum standards for refuse derived fuels as a possible option.

According to Defra’s statement, the government is keen to promote the production of RDF for both the domestic and export markets. Further clarification is also given stating that they are keen to limit the production of refuse derived fuels to material ‘which cannot be effectively recycled’, combining fuel and technology ‘to deliver clear environmental benefits’.

The review of the UK’s refuse derived fuel market follows a report issued in February by Defra on Energy from Waste. In this, the increase in RDF export over recent years was highlighted as a result of overcapacity in infrastructure to process RDF abroad. In January, provisional data from the Environment Agency showed that more than 1.5 million tonnes of RDF material was exported in 2013. This was significantly higher than the 900,000 tonnes exported in the previous year.

This data has been met with some controversy, as according to the recent call for evidence document, ‘the government is concerned that minimally treated RDF being produced for export does not necessarily achieve the best environmental outcome in terms of the waste hierarchy or support wider aims around energy security and self-sufficiency’.


How To Manage Your Waste Using The Waste Hierarchy?


At Recycling Services we endeavour to manage all the waste using the waste hierarchy. This ensures, where possible, landfill is the last option. By viewing your waste as a resource, a zero waste system can become a viable economic alternative.

For details on the waste hierarchy and how your waste can be used for refuse derived fuels, please call 01952 204471 or email


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