The Suffolk energy-from-waste facility processes waste left after recycling and composting, under carefully-controlled conditions, to recover energy.
In the energy-from-waste process, waste is burned at high temperatures and the heat used to make steam, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. The Suffolk facility uses modern, proven energy-from-waste technology to produce enough electricity to power 30,000 homes (approximately the same number of homes as in Lowestoft).
The facility has a capacity of 269,000 tonnes of waste a year, which is enough to deal with household waste from across Suffolk, plus some business waste. No clinical waste or animal carcasses will go there. The waste going to the facility comes primarily from Suffolk, but may also come from neighbouring counties. A planning restriction means the facility can only take waste from the east of England, and not London.
The facility and the entire treatment process are designed for maximum efficiency and safety. Before any energy-from-waste facility can operate, it needs a permit with strict environmental and operating conditions attached. The Environment Agency will only issue a permit if it is sure that people and the environment are protected. The Suffolk site was granted a permit in September 2011. The facility is continually monitored by both SUEZ and the Environment Agency to make sure all the conditions are being met.