Converting waste to energy 

Although Biffa reuses or recycles the overwhelming majority of the waste we collect, it’s not possible for us to treat all of it. Instead of sending it to landfill, we can use it to generate energy. Energy recovery from waste is important to energy security, providing around 3% of the UK’s electricity needs. It also helps us to enable the circular economy, by decreasing the reliance on exporting waste, while recovering metals and aggregates for recycling from the ashes. The heat generated by the facilities is also be captured and used for district heating schemes and commercial applications. 

Energy and biogas

We generate energy in 3 ways

Food that cannon be consumed is processed through our Anaerobic Digestion facilities to produce biogas
Material that cannot be recycled or reused is incinerated to create electricity
Methane is captured from closed landfill sites and exported to power grids

How the process works

Anaerobic digestion process at Biffa's energy from waste plant

Anaerobic digestion

Anaerobic digestion takes food and green waste and breaks it down in air-tight digesters. This process generates biogas in the form of methane, which can be burned to generate electricity. By burning this methane, we also prevent it from entering into the atmosphere.
Incineration process at Biffa's energy from waste plant

Incineration

Once everything that can be reused or recycled is removed, we can burn what’s left in tightly controlled conditions to generate energy. By burning waste, known as Refuse Devised Fuel, we reduce the amount that gets put into landfill or needs exporting for treatment. 
Biffa's landfill site for capturing methane

Landfill

Methane is captured from closed landfill sites and exported to power grids. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas, and capturing it stops it going into the atmosphere. Currently we capture over 85% of methane from our closed landfill sites.  

Our 'Energy from Waste' plants

Biffa is investing in 2 new, technically advanced Energy from Waste plants:

(1) Newhurst in Leicestershire which just opened in June 2023, and
(2) Protos in Cheshire, scheduled to launch in 2024. These new plants will materially increase our capacity to recover energy, support local infrastructure, and make us more efficient.

light bulb icon
350,000
tonnes of non-recyclable waste treated per year
home icon
90,000
homes can be powered by low carbon energy generated (49 megawatts)