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Refuse Derived Fuel – To Export or Not

Refuse Derived Fuel – To Export or Not

Organized at 3 PM GMT on 26th August, 2015




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Ranjith Annepu moderated the panel and conducted the global waste survey to choose topics for the 2015 Global Dialogue on Waste

Madhumitha Rajendran
Madhumitha Rajendran performed background research for the panel

Carine Abouseif
Carine Abouseif helped inform and engage our community on social media


Unfortunately, Dirk Lechtenberg was unable to join the panel due to health reasons.

Tejaswini Pagadala has put together a quick summary of the panel and some of her favourite quotes from the panelists.


With greater budget, it is easy to track waste or keep tabs on waste crime.

  • Factors causing a spike in RDF exports: Changes in legislation. The rising cost of landfill and landfill tax.
  • Lack of capacity: Currently, we have about 5 million tones of incineration capacity. Overseas facilities are competing with UK facilities. As the capacity grows and the demand for RDF grows, things will change in the next 2-5 years.
  • The production/manufacturing of RDF is dependent on the economics. The challenge here is the gateway costs. As a whole, we need to study the cost aspect.
  • Regulatory drivers: It’s being driven by waste crime in the UK. There is a need to consider standards for RDF. However, recovery actions, in this context, play a crucial role.
  • Price of RDF: Discussions on deciding or standardizing the price are of RDF are on. Generally, it’s the market that decides. It depends on the commercial decision.


Future of RDF will, however, raise competitive tensions. It eventually boils down to the commercial value. They can look at it as a future investment option.

The increase in the export of RDF has also led to an increase in the capacity as Waste 2 Energy facilities grew. We will continue to see the export market (of RDF) rise.

RDF export & waste crime: There isn’t a link between RDF export and waste crime. Ability to produce RDF has brought criminal elements into UK. Therefore, these companies have taken advantage of loopholes in the system.

For this, suitable penalty/discouragements should be in place. This will prevent companies from getting away with waste crime. Also, a regulation around RDF is required to keep tabs on waste crime.

Waste crime is being driven because of gas in market, cost of landfill and land, cost of disposal and criminal elements taking advantage of it.

Standards of RDF: It’s driven by the requirements of the end-user. If you try and make it all the same, it might not suit the buyer’s needs.

We need to make sure that the logistical steps from manufacturing to selling it to end-user are consistent to achieve the quality demanded by the end-user.

Price of RDF: It comes down to the receiving plant. We look at the most advantageous price. For those buying, it’s purely on the commercial value.

RDF market will remain a price-sensitive market.

Environmental impacts of RDF: In terms of receiving plants, most of them are regulated. The environmental impact is very well controlled. However, the environmental impact is less controlled during production and logistical operations. This can be addressed through operating permits.

System to track waste or RDF: It is tracked and one can follow it through the system. The main challenge during tracking is to make companies accountable so that they don’t put the waste back into the system.


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