Energy from Waste

Introducing the Energy from Waste Facility (EfW) in Exeter


Devon County Council is one of the top performing counties for recycling in England. Continuing to reduce, reuse and recycle waste is a priority for the authority. However, even after extensive recycling activity, and the ‘Don’t let Devon go to waste’ campaign, there will always be a proportion of waste left over that can’t be recycled, reused or composted. This is known as residual waste and it needs to be dealt with. Devon County Council’s strategy is to use it to create energy, reducing the amount sent to landfill and this is where the EfW plant comes in.

Energy from waste is a mature technology with an established track-record, widely in use across Europe and Scandinavia. It is a clean and safe process that burns waste in a controlled environment to produce steam and electricity – enough to power 5,000 homes in the case of Exeter. Regulated by the Environment Agency, the emissions are constantly monitored to ensure they fall within strict limits.

Check out this video on how the plant works:


Devon County Council’s waste disposal contractor, Viridor Waste Management Ltd, was granted planning permission for the development in 2007.

Following a tender process, TIRU SA were selected to build and operate the facility. The contract for the project was signed in Summer 2011.

The project is a partnership between Devon County Council, Viridor and TIRU and will produce enough electricity to supply around 5,000 homes. In addition the plant has the potential to run a District Heating scheme.

Key Facts

  •  Between 35-40 journeys a day are made by waste delivery trucks, alongside other vehicles which will be disposing of ash and removing ferrous / scrap metals from the site.
  • The facility treats up to 60,000 tonnes of residual, non-recyclable waste from households across Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge.
  • Energy produced by the waste treatment process is fed back into the national grid, reducing running costs and offsetting the facility’s own energy consumption.

Visiting the EfW

Community Groups are welcome to book a visit to the Energy from Waste plant. Tours last about two hours and are a great chance to see the plant in action, while learning more about waste in Devon. Contact to find out more details or to book your group onto a tour.