Smoke Screen: Why the UK Must Turn its Back on Incineration and Embrace the Circular Economy as a Solution to the Global Waste Crisis

Published on 1 May 2017

International development charity Tearfund is calling on the UK government to lead the world in abandoning waste incineration after a new report highlighted the dangers of continuing the practice.‘Smoke Screen’ was published as industry experts gathered in London for the World Waste to Energy and Resources Summit.

It explains how burning rubbish is actually a net contributor to climate change, creates demand for more waste and in many cases emits harmful particulates that are banned under the Stockholm Convention. The report warns that incineration is being wrongly touted as a clean energy solution that also solves the waste issue “despite damning evidence of the damage caused to people and planet”.

Industrial-sized incinerators are spreading across the developing world including Africa where waste is a mounting problem and where pollution impacts will likely be much worse. The report reveals how governments around the world actively promote the practice despite the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and the European Commission all discouraging it. It also outlines how incineration threatens the livelihoods of between 15 and 20 million of the world’s poorest people.


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Patrick Schröder

Research Fellow


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