UK and EU must act to ensure continued trade of RDF, says industry group

7th June 2018 | Recycling

The Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) Industry Group has called for urgent action from the UK Government and the EU to ensure that the export of RDF from the UK to Europe will continue unhindered after Brexit. The RDF Industry Group, whose members are drawn from across the RDF supply chain, details the arguments for RDF export to continue in its new publication, “Waste Export: Brexit Briefing Note.”

The briefing note makes the argument that as the UK moves towards a more circular economy, RDF exports represent an environmentally advantageous treatment route for waste, as well as providing a safety valve for the waste management industry in the event of insufficient domestic residual waste treatment capacity. This will allow the UK Government time to develop future waste policy and either increase residual waste treatment capacity or increase recycling rates. The publication echoes calls made by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), a trade organisation representing UK waste management companies, back in April for the frictionless trade of waste materials to remain post-Brexit.


The UK’s impending departure from the EU, and the prospect of a return of tariffs on exports and imports to and from the continent, has stoked fears in the waste sector that the export of additional residual waste as RDF to Europe would encounter significant price barriers, in terms of the additional costs met at the border on top of the gate fees already demanded by energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities in Europe.

Since 2010, the export of RDF for treatment in spare EfW capacity in Northern Europe has markedly increased, now standing at around 3.6 million tonnes a year. This accounts for the treatment of around 14 per cent of the UK’s residual waste and is worth an estimated £500 million annually.

The full briefing note “Waste Export: Brexit Briefing Note” can be downloaded from the RDF Group Website.

More information available on the website below