Wrong conclusions on waste-to-energy?

ESWET welcomes the publication of the Communication on waste-to-energy, but criticizes some of the commission’s arguments.
Martin Kummer; pixelio.de
Martin Kummer; pixelio.de

„We believe that waste management policies, in order to bring benefits to all EU citizens, should be based on efficient and sustainable solutions. Waste-to-Energy (i.e. thermal energy recovery of waste) is one of them: it complements Circular Economy by dealing with waste not suitable for recycling that would be otherwise landfilled. On the other hand, it also provides a source of reliable and local energy that can be used in our houses or by industry. Finally, it helps recovering important materials (metals and minerals)“, ESWET states.

However, the federation criticizes the discrepancy between the communcation that states that the amount of waste potentially available for waste-to-energy is expected to increase, while a recent study by the EU Joint Research Center claims that the amount of feedstock for waste-to-energy can be expected to be stable or even increasing.

ESWET agrees on the uneven spread of incineration capacities. Hence, the federation believes that there is room for integrated waste management plans, including new thermal recovery facilities, in these regions. Therefore financial support should be given for the implementation of such integrated waste management strategies, including new thermal recovery facilities – which is in opposition to the Commission’s point of view. ESWET also claims that it is important to consider commercial and industrial waste, which is also treated in thermal energy recovery facilities, but not adressed in the communication. Therefore, ESWET advises caution when talking about risk of overcapacities.

The federation also argues that incineration taxes would only increase the costs for citizens, since the thermal energy recovery plants only deal with waste that is not suitable for recycling. ESWET names the example of Sweden where an incineration tax on household waste did not have any significant effect on the recycling rates.

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