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Energy From Waste (EfW)

Watch a Devon specific, child friendly, video explaining the Energy from Waste process here.

Currently (June 2015) households in Devon throw away 370,000 tonnes of waste every year – this includes ‘rubbish’, composting and recycling. Nearly 55% of this is recycled, which is great news, until you realise that it still means 166,500 tonnes needs to be disposed of.

Until recently all of this other waste went to a landfill site. However, since spring 2015 Devon now sends 31% of its waste to Energy from Waste plants in Exeter and Plymouth.

Table showing the breakdown of how waste is managed (%)


 June 2014

 Spring 2015




 Landfill site



 Energy from Waste






*  until an alternative can be found. This percentage also includes the ash produced from the incineration process.


Energy from Waste is an umbrella term for many different processes, all of which result in a useable product after treating waste. In Devon, there are two EfW facilities which burn waste under controlled conditions to produce electricity, and in the case of Plymouth, heat.


Download this pdf to find out more about the process of incinerating waste to make energy in an EfW facility and answers to some frequently asked questions.





Download this simplified diagram of the Exeter EfW process




Exeter EfW

 Started accepting waste

 July 2014


Marsh Barton Industrial Estate, Exeter


60,000 tonnes / year

 Taking waste from which areas?

Exeter, East Devon, north Teignbridge and potentially parts of Mid Devon **

 Creating heat? And power?

Export approximately 2.8MW electricity onto the National Grid.


Plymouth EfW

Started accepting waste

May 2015


HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth


240,000 tonnes / year

Taking waste from which areas?

Plymouth, Torbay, South Hams, West Devon and south Teignbridge **

Creating heat? and power?

Electrical power and heating for the neighbouring dockyard

** Devon County Council is currently exploring ways to dispose of non-recyclable waste from the north of Devon.