Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) Explained


The items that can and cannot be processed in recycling machinery have become common knowledge among individuals and businesses in recent times. But what happens to the waste that can’t be recycled? And can it still be used for something else other than landfill?

This is where Refuse Derived Fuel, or RDF, comes into it. RDF is still a relatively unknown concept for many, but it’s a vital part of reducing carbon footprints and improving sustainability. As specialists in all kinds of used recycling equipment, we are sharing everything you need to know about Refuse Derived Fuel.

What Is Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)?

RDF is created from business and domestic waste which has not been recycled using traditional recycling equipment. It often includes a mix of biodegradable materials and plastic, while materials which are non-combustible, like glass and metal, are removed. Refuse Derived Fuel is then used to create energy for recovery facilities. Many of these facilities are located across Europe, where hot water and electricity is generated and used for communal heating systems and much more.

What Is Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF)?

When discussing RDF, it is likely you will come across SRF at the same time. Solid Recovered Fuel works as an alternative to fossil fuels but is produced from commercial waste such as wood, plastic, paper, card, and textiles. SRF undergoes further processing which improves its value and quality compared to RDF.

How Is Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) Created?

When producing RDF, the combustible materials are shredded, dried, baled, and burned. This in turn produces electricity which can be used for other applications. RDF is considered a renewable energy source and helps to keep waste out of landfill by putting it to good use instead. As there are various materials that can be processed through RDF, there are different techniques and methods used. This ensures the fuel produced is a suitable substitute to fossil fuels. Some common methods used in creating RDF include coarse shredding, bag splitting, magnetic separation, refining separation, and size screening.

Is RDF An Alternative To Landfill?

Yes, Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) is considered a viable alternative to sending waste to landfill. It is an eco-friendly solution and the amount of RDF being created has increased drastically in the last few years. RDF is being used as a way of meeting landfill diversion targets, but one key consideration is how far waste is travelling to be used for RDF. Studies have shown that the waste is only beneficial to the environment if it travels less than 2,300 kilometres, more than this, and the energy used to transport the waste exceeds the benefits.

At WRT, we are experts in recycling machinery and methods, including Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) and Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF). Our team can offer advice and guidance on all aspects of recycling and waste management. Get in touch today to discover how our used recycling equipment can help you meet your sustainability goals.