On 27 January, the European Commission called on Member States to address incineration overcapacity and prioritise waste prevention by repair and reuse as well as recycling instead.
NGOs have taken the opportunity to express concern over potential new investments in over 80 waste incinerators and about 40 mechanical biological treatment facilities across CEE countries.
The construction of new incineration facilities could come as a result of an old agreement with the European Commission which was signed prior to the release of the Circular Economy Package in 2015.
CEE countries were granted € 5.4 billion to improve waste management systems, including recycling, for the period 2014-2020. However, the agreement also envisaged the allocation of over 50% of the available funds for the development of thermal treatment and incineration facilities.
NGOs said that if governments carry through plans to expand incineration, they will jeopardise the implementation of a progressive waste reduction and recycling system.