ESWET concerned about proposals to cap waste incineration

Source: European Suppliers of Waste to Energy Technology (ESWET)

Brussels — The European Suppliers of Waste to Energy Technology (ESWET) have written an open letter to European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik. ESWET is concerned about proposals that are being circulated to cap waste incineration. According to the organisation, this would undermine the resource-efficiency agenda Potocnik has defined throughout hiis mandate as Commissioner.

The association of European Suppliers of Waste to Energy Technology (ESWET) is well-placed to give an overview of waste management trends in many countries in Europe – and beyond.

As the letter runs, Waste-to-Energy is the technology recognised to maximise the use of the resource- and energy-contents of waste that was not selected by material recyclers. At the same time, emission limits on Waste-to-Energy plants are the strictest of any combustion industry, ensuring protection of the environment. Waste-to-Energy plants also contribute to fighting climate change by offsetting the use of fossil fuels and reducing landfilling, as reflected by the Waste Framework Directive’s Waste.

So why – asks ESWET – „should we aim at curtailing incineration while a significant fraction of waste throughout the EU is still landfilled?“ and lists several counter arguments.

At the end of the refutation, the letter says:

„Incineration caps do not change the unrecyclable nature of some waste ESWET underlines the relevance of the Waste Hierarchy which gives a chance for waste to gain a positive value (resource) for society to recycle it instead of being a burden with a negative value (waste) that we all need to pay to get rid of.   Waste-to-Energy plants do not “buy clean recyclates” to keep on running: they get paid to incinerate waste because it is contaminated and/or has no value to recyclers. Limiting waste incineration does not make dirty waste cleaner: It will simply go to a landfill elsewhere. Does it make sense to limit Efficient Waste-to-Energy plants in relieving recyclers from their rejects if the side effect is exporting resource for combustion outside the EU or landfilling it elsewhere?“

ESWET is – in own words – prepared to collaborate with the EU Institutions and stakeholders to improve waste management in Europe but believes an incineration cap will mean continued landfilling, which goes against the very principle of resource-efficiency.

The full letter to Janez Potocnik can be downloaded from

Source: ESWET aisbl