United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN)
UKWIN represents more than 85 anti-incineration groups in the UK and advocates more sustainable approaches to waste management. Compared to incineration, recycling and re-use are cheaper, more flexible and better for both the environment and the economy.
UKWIN represents and supports groups campaigning against waste incineration and for sustainable waste management
United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UNWIN) is a not-for-profit organisation that represents and supports more than 85 member groups campaigning against waste incineration. UKWIN helps groups develop the case against incineration, creating a UK-wide movement for more sustainable approaches to waste management
Waste incinerators often face fierce public opposition, and there are over 85 local anti-incineration groups in the United Kingdom. Objection to incinerators can be for location-specific reasons such as harm to local nature sites, increases in noise and traffic, and spoiling the view. Local opposition can also be part of the wider national and international movement against incineration and for sustainable waste management.
There are approximately 30 incinerators in the UK that burn discarded material from businesses and households. If all current plans for new incinerators go ahead there would be more than 100.
Aspirations for achieving a zero waste economy would be undermined by an increase in incineration capacity, and many argue that incineration should be phased out altogether. Incineration can significantly reduce the mass and volume of waste, but the process inevitably produces ash and emissions to the atmosphere which include toxins such as dioxins, furans, sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. Incineration does not prevent waste from having to be landfilled, because incineration produces toxic ash that is disposed of at specialist hazardous landfill sites. Incinerator operators often enter into secretive long-term contracts with local authorities that guarantee the operator profits whether or not the council uses the incinerator. This makes incineration very lucrative for the operators, especially when a council carries much of the financial risk. The full impact of burning waste is not paid for either by the incinerator operators or by whoever is responsible for the waste in the first place, meaning that the price of incineration does not reflect its true environmental cost.
Many existing and proposed incinerators arose in response to predictions of huge increases in the quantity of household waste based on projection from five to ten years ago, when in fact waste volumes have actually fallen dramatically. The business case for many incinerators also relies on invalid assumptions regarding the potential of alternatives to incineration that in reality are better for the environment. Incinerators are often justified on the basis of unambitious levels of waste minimisation, re-use, recycling, composting and other forms of energy recovery such as anaerobic digestion. This often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the incinerator operation stifling better environmental options. Creating new products uses energy, depletes resources, and results in harmful emissions of greenhouse gases and pollution. Because of this, it is better for the environment to produce less, and to re-use and recycle more. Waste that is buried could be mined for future use, whereas the incineration of fossil-based materials such as plastic inevitably results in the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources. Compared to incineration, recycling and re-use are cheaper, more flexible, quicker to implement and better for both the environment and the economy.
The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) is an independent organisation representing anti-incineration groups in the UK. The aim of the network is to provide information and support, and to act as a coordinating focus. UKWIN's charitable objects include: the conservation, protection and improvement for the benefit of the public of the (physical and natural) environment by promoting sustainable waste management and influencing public policy and practice accordingly; and, the education of the public in waste management options, and the promotion of economic, social and environmental benefits arising from protecting the environment and reducing pollution.
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