EU circular economy plan supports gasification “to the full”

Stricter rules on incineration of some wastes, but no legally binding efficiency targets, were agreed as part of the EU’s circular economy plan.

MEPs have backed plans to reduce incineration of recyclable and biodegradable waste after 2020 as they voted through a report outlining the future shape of the EU circular economy plan. The report, which is not legally binding, is a recommendation to the European Commission and was voted through on 9 July with 394 in favour, 197 against and 82 abstentions.

The energy-from-waste sector has largely backed plans for preventing recycling and biodegradable waste being sent for energy recovery, but the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP) also attacked the anti-incineration language used in the run up to the vote.

MEPs also dropped a demand for a 30% resource efficiency goal to be legally binding ahead of voting through the measures.

DG Environment legal officer for waste management and recycling, Jorge Diaz del Castillo, had previously stated an EU plan for EfW in the circular economy would operate on the principle of more energy from less waste. This supported exploiting the most advanced technologies, such as pyrolysis and gasification, “to the full.”

EfW technology was controversially left out of the original circular economy package, which was dropped last summer.

EBA supports DG Environment’s approach to favour innovative technologies which benefit Europe’s economy and its environment. Concretely, EBA promotes the large-scale deployment of two key technologies to manage organic waste in a complementary manner. On the one hand, clean waste streams such as source separated waste can be digested to produce biogas and organic fertilisers. On the other hand, organic waste containing contaminants can be safely treated through gasification, an innovative technology which is cleaner and more efficient than conventional incineration. By following this approach, we will make the best use out of our resources while at the same time we will create new jobs and business opportunities. As Commission Vice-President said: “the Circular Economy is not only about the environment, it is also the logical thing to do for Europe’s economy”

This article is a result of a partnership between ENDS Waste&Bionergy and EBA.
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