Recovering energy from waste

About half of Kent's waste is recycled or composted. A lot of the waste that can't be recycled, from both domestic waste collections and our household waste recycling centres, is sent to the Allington Waste to Energy Plant. It is used to create electricity, a renewable energy source that ensures waste simply is put to good use.

How renewable energy is created

  • The waste, which is now essentially a fuel, feeds the 3 incinerators at the plant, which reach temperatures of 650 degrees centigrade.
  • This then heats the boilers, which produce steam. The steam turns the turbines which produce up to 45 megawatts of electricity per hour.
  • The waste-to-energy plant uses an environmentally friendly system which is constantly monitored by the team working there but also the Environment Agency. If you see clouds coming out of the chimneys, you can be sure that it’s steam and not smoke.
  • Electricity is fed back to the National Grid, which is enough electricity to supply homes in towns the size of Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge.

Watch the video to see how Allington Waste to energy plant site uses specialist machinery to generate electricity.

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Allington Waste to Energy Plant - video transcript

Refuse derived fuel

Refuse derived fuel (RDF) is a fuel produced by sorting and processing various types of bulky and solid general waste. It can be a variety of materials such as large children’s plastic toys, plastic furniture, wood, carpets and mattresses.

We send household bulky waste collected at our household waste recycling centres for processing into refuse derived fuel.

  • Specialist machinery shreds the solid waste.
  • This is then made into bales that are wrapped to meet strict rules for transport and disposal at waste incinerators in Europe and soon to new facilities in the UK.
  • These facilities are also combined heat and power plants that use heat generated from RDF in local areas for heating.

Find out where your waste goes

If you would like to find out more about what happens to Kent’s household waste and recycling, view the data on where our waste and recycling goes.