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Provisional Data Reveals a Fall in RDF Exports

Provisional statistics released by the Environment Agency suggest a fall in exports of refuse derived fuel (RDF) from England in 2019 compared to the previous year.

The figures, released by the Environment Agency (EA), show a 10% decrease in RDF exported in 2019. Tonnage dropped by 30,000 when comparing the figures from January to November 2019 to the same period in 2018.

The RDF export market has faced two short-term issues in 2019, which will continue to affect the market in the coming year: the Dutch import tax and Brexit.

The Netherlands have begun to implement the €32 tax on exported waste after passing the proposal to help the Netherlands reduce their CO2 emissions in December. The increased prices for exports in RDF are expected to hit local councils the hardest, with part or all of the tax passed onto local authority contracts, as the Dutch tax is deemed a change in law. With contracts coming up for renewal in 2020, exports could drop further as market pressures increase, driving up prices for UK operators.

Additionally, Sweden has announced it will apply a tax of £6 per tonne on “waste that is burnt” as of April 2020.

Although not as large a market for England as the Netherlands, it remains an important destination for RDF alongside Germany and Denmark.

With overall tonnage of RDF exports falling, we may see domestic markets increasing to avoid residual waste being sent to landfill. Several UK outlets are developing, new plants are proposed in southern England, and existing operators are expanding capacity.

Ed Ewence, Trading Team Leader for Clarity Environmental, said:

“With challenging conditions set to continue for the RDF export market, the industry will be looking to see if the finalised figures from the EA confirm the decrease in exports, and the potential impact of the Dutch tax passing. Although the uncertainty around Brexit has been removed, the new challenges facing exports in terms of logistics and legislation mean the sector will have to remain adaptable and innovative to provide quality material and flexibility to the new markets developing.”

We are a leading supplier of feedstock to energy from waste plants, helping to divert commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste from landfill and converting it into useable fuel sources. If your business is looking to recover the value of your waste and reduce disposal costs, we can work with you to send it to a UK recovery facility, or export from your premises to overseas.

Get in touch with a member of our team on 0845 129 7177 to discuss how we can help your business or find out more on our website.

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