This document identifies practical, workable alternatives to incineration and puts forward suggestions on how SEERA’s vision could be implemented. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss this.

Recycling and composting

Separate out the various waste streams at source in order to clean up the residual waste stream.

Organic waste (food and garden) should be tackled first. This makes up 39% of Surrey’s municipal waste, it causes odour and pollutes water when it is sent to untreated landfill.

We need separate collection of food waste as stated in the forthcoming EU Bio Waste Directive.

We need composting facilities in each district, including in-vessel composting for food waste.

Promote home composting and community composting facilities for garden waste.

Complying with the EU Landfill Directive

The directive only applies to biodegradable landfill.

Untreated landfill should be phased out. Pre-treated landfill is acceptable in the short-term.

Short-term solution for residual waste : minimise and stabilise the biodegradable content with pre-treatment facilities (MBT, Mechanical Biological Treatment), then send it to landfill for pre-treated waste (Government has given its backing to this approach).

Long-term solution: invest in waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and composting.

Disposal Technologies

There is widespread support for an incinerator-free approach:

·        Over 70% of the responses received by SEERA were against incineration.

·        Residents throughout the region have said repeatedly that incineration is unacceptable.

·        Annex 6 of SEERA’s Regional Waste Strategy makes it clear that targets can be met or exceeded using recycling and composting alone.

·        The Integrated Waste Management Strategy produced by the Surrey Local Government Association (in conjunction with Councillors and officers from all Local Authorities in Surrey) endorses the principle that mass burn incineration should be avoided.

Recycling Facilities and Markets

Civic Amenity sites should be transformed to Resource Recovery Parks (as stated in the Strategy). Improve facilities for collecting household hazardous waste (to clean up the residual waste stream).

Establish Materials Recovery Facilities and markets for handling dry recyclables. Councils need to pool their recyclables to negotiate better prices. Share facilities between county’s within the region.

Location of facilities : urban or green belt ?

There must be a match between the type of facility and the location taking into account the properties (and potential risks) of the specific waste stream it is intended to process.

Waste minimisation & changing attitudes to waste

Stop the growth in waste by winning the hearts and minds of residents. This will require a sizable annual investment in PR, awareness campaigns and education programmes.

Set residents a target for the actual amount of waste produced per household or per person.

Give residents an incentive by introducing variable charging (“pay as you throw”).


Establish a waste forum in each county with representatives from local authorities, community groups and businesses to facilitate a co-ordinated approach and effective community involvement.

Engage with the communities/businesses through effective communication (eg. telephone hotline, web-based discussion forums, road shows, public meetings, etc).

Build partnerships with residents, businesses, community groups and local authorities.