Rubbish emissions could be cut further

Much more can be done to cut carbon emissions from the disposal of rubbish, a senior adviser on waste management said today.

A full understanding of the implications of collection and treatment methods is needed, to show the substantial additional further carbon savings that could be made, said Peter Jones, who advises the London Mayor, Boris Johnson.

He denied a report that he thought recycling could be adding to global warming, saying the opposite was the case.

The former director of waste firm Biffa was said to have called for an urgent review of Labour's policy on recycling to make sure the collection, transportation and processing of recyclable material was not causing a net increase in greenhouse gases.

He reportedly also suggested that much of the country's waste should simply be burnt to generate electricity.

Mr Jones said in a statement today: "At no stage did I ever suggest that recycling was a waste of time or that it could be adding to global warming, the opposite is in fact the case.

"At the moment I believe there are effective and successful policies in place for composting and recycling but that we need as full an understanding as possible of the carbon implications of all collection and treatment methods of our rubbish to demonstrate the substantial additional further carbon savings that can be made."

A spokeswoman for Mr Johnson said: "The Mayor is passionately committed to recycling and believes that it is absolutely vital for Londoners to recycle.

"That is why he has chosen to personally chair the London Waste and Recycling Board.

"There is no doubt that recycling waste is preferable to it being buried in landfill or burned in incinerators which are significant producers of carbon emissions.

"Peter Jones shares the Mayor's view on recycling but was merely raising some detailed technical issues and has now clarified his views."

A Defra spokesman said: "The benefits of recycling are clear - it reduced carbon emissions by 11 million tonnes last year alone, the equivalent of taking 3.6 million cars off the road.

"We do agree that there are potential benefits of using waste as an alternative source of power, and that's why the Government is supporting local authorities and industry to do just that."