Energy from waste

How Energy from Waste Works Key Facts Air Quality Monitoring & Emissions Visitor Centre Community Liaison FAQs

To find out more about the Suffolk energy-from-waste facility, visit the Suffolk EfW website

What is energy-from-waste?

An energy-from-waste facility processes waste left after recycling and composting, under carefully-controlled conditions, to recover energy.

The waste is burned at high temperatures and the heat used to make steam, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. The Suffolk energy- from-waste facility became fully operational in December 2014 and uses modern, proven technology to produce enough electricity to power 42,000 homes (approximately the same number of homes as in Lowestoft). Find out more about the process 

Why energy-from-waste in Suffolk?

We are proud of our recycling achievements in this county. Thanks to the efforts of Suffolk residents, we are now the seventh best recycling county in the UK, with over half our household waste recycled and we don’t want to stop there!

Despite our amazing efforts, we are still left with at least 170,000 tonnes of rubbish a each year. This had used to be disposed of in landfill, a situation which couldn't go on due to the fact that we were running out of landfill space, it is extremely costly (because of hefty landfill taxes) and more importantly environmentally we wanted to do better.

We needed to find an alternative, and after much research we decided on energy-from-waste, which uses tried and tested technology to provide a cheaper, greener solution to disposing of the Suffolk's energy-from-waste facilitywaste left after recycling.

This technology puts the waste to good use as a fuel to generate electricity and contributes to our aim of making Suffolk the greenest county. Over the 25 year life of the contract, it will also be at least £350 million cheaper for council tax payers than continuing to landfill.

Journey of the Suffolk energy-from-waste facility:

Mar/ Sep 2006 Fact finding visit to Germany and Switzerland organised by DEFRA to look at different technologies for disposing of waste
Oct 2006 The Cabinet at Suffolk County Council considers possible technologies as alternatives to landfill
Oct 2007 The Cabinet approves the outline business case for alternatives to landfill, which will be used to bid for a DEFRA grant
Jan 2008 Great Blakenham site offered to those bidding for contract to build a waste treatment facility
May 2008 Start of tendering process to find a company to build and run a waste treatment facility (technology not yet decided)
Mar 2009 Four companies submit proposals, all chose energy-from-waste technology at the Great Blakenham site
May 2010 SITA UK confirmed as the preferred bidder for the contract
Jul 2010 First newsletter distributed to 9,000 homes around the site and first public exhibitions at Great Blakenham
Sep 2010 First community liaison group meeting
Oct 2010 Signing of contracts with SITA UK and £102 million DEFRA grant confirmed
Jan 2011 SITA UK submits planning application to Suffolk County Council’s Development Committee for the energy-from-waste (EfW)
Oct 2011 The Environment Agency grants SITA UK the environment permit it will need before the site can open
Jan 2012 Demolition of previous buildings & preparation of site for EfW begins
May 2012 Construction of the EfW started
Oct 2012 First member of staff appointed to Suffolk’s EfW plant
Feb 2013 Chimneys went up on site
Sep 2013 Design Map are appointed to design the 2 visitors centre rooms at the EfW
Mar 2014 Site wins national ‘Considerate Constructors’ award
Jun 2014 First waste went into the EfW facility
Dec 2014 Facility is fully operational

Visit for more information about how the process works, emissions data, newslettersthe visitor centre, and SITA Trust funding opportunities