Burning waste

What are the alternatives to burning waste?


When you burn waste in the open you are losing a potential resource and you also risk causing air, land and water pollution. You should find alternative methods of waste management wherever possible.

When considering your waste management options you should follow the waste hierarchy: reduce, reuse, recycle, energy recovery and, finally, disposal.

Better alternatives to burning your waste in the open are to:

  • redesign your processes to reduce or eliminate waste production
  • implement a waste minimisation programme
  • reuse and recycle materials in-house
  • send waste for recovery rather than for disposal, eg oils and solvents
  • compost biodegradable wastes
  • burn your waste in an authorised waste incineration plant or boiler that produces energy from the waste
  • burn your waste in an authorised waste incineration plant, furnace or boiler
  • dispose of your waste at an authorised landfill site

Industrial symbiosis is another name for exchanging or trading waste for mutual benefit or profit. Your unwanted waste may be a valued raw material for another business.

If you must burn waste on your site you may need a pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or a registered waste exemption. You must have the correct permissions in place before you start any burning activities.