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Last Updated: Thursday April 21 2005 07:04 GMT

Rubbish 'could power 2m houses'

Household rubbish could provide almost a fifth of the UK's electricity by 2020, according to a new report.

More than half of the stuff we throw out is currently buried in landfill sites in England but could provide power for up to 2m homes a year.

The Institution of Civil Engineers and the Renewable Power Association say burning rubbish would help the UK reach targets for using renewable energy.

But some environmental groups say recycling is still better.

They argue burning rubbish means climate changing gases like carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere.

At the moment around 30m tonnes of rubbish are buried in the UK every year.

Under European law, there's a target of producing 10% of the UK's electricity from renewable sources by 2010.

Recycling 'is better'

Peter Gerstrom, of the ICE said converting biodegradable waste into energy would help the environment and reduce the amount of "rubbish mountains" around the UK.

But Friends of the Earth campaigner Claire Wilton said: "A third of household waste is not renewable and cannot therefore be used to generate renewable energy.

"It is almost always better for the environment to recycle or compost household waste, rather than burn it."

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